The 113th Congress will have a record-breaking number of female senators, the most in history. And it has created a less auspicious historical footnote.
“We had the first traffic jam in the United States history in the women’s Senate bathroom, history has been made,” Klobuchar said today. “Five women, five at once.”
The issue of bathrooms on Capitol Hill is more immediate than you might think. It was just one year ago that women serving across the building in the House of Representatives finally got a women’s restroom just off the House floor. There has been a women’s restroom near the Senate chamber since 1993.
Barbara Mikulski, D-Md, the “dean” of women in the Senate, has been the senator from Maryland since 1987 and was in the House for ten years before that. When she first came to the Senate, long before the restroom was installed, there were two women in the Senate. Come January, there will be 20.
Mikulski today hosted her annual bipartisan “Women Power Workshop” for all current and incoming senators-elect who are women.
Retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas, who has been advising some of the incoming female senators, said that the women in the Senate, no matter their party, have a “collaborative spirit” and help each other on “getting through the Washington morass.”
“I think they’ll find that it is nice to have the ability to talk to other women because some of them have children and the age-old question of, Do you live in Washington with your children but not in your home state? Or, Do you live in your home state and commute? And it’s a hard, hard decision and so I’ve been giving insights on that as one of the things that we do.”
Five new female senators will join the ranks next year, all of whom were present at today’s workshop, Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii; Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; and Deb Fischer, R-Neb.
There are a record number of women in the House of Representatives this year, too. That’s a point Nancy Pelosi made on Wednesday when she held a press conference on a stage packed with every Democratic woman in the House.