Women wore white at the State of the Union to highlight a historic first

A sea of Democratic women in white was meant to draw attention to the growing ranks of women in Congress.

Tuesday’s State of the Union featured a striking visual: row after row of women lawmakers in the audience wearing white to honor past suffragists.

The decision to wear white was a coordinated effort among Democratic women as they sought to make a statement about representation — and it was exceedingly noticeable because of the historic number of women involved.

There are currently a record-breaking 102 women serving in the House of Representatives, 89 of whom are Democrats and 13 of whom are Republicans. The House Democratic majority is also led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the first and only woman to ever hold the position. Twenty-five women are currently serving in the Senate as well.

This congressional House class not only includes the most women ever elected to these positions, it also includes a series of historic firsts. Among the House first-term members alone, there are the first Native American women ever elected to Congress, the first Muslim American women, and the youngest women.

Thirty-five of the women in the House were elected as part of this freshman class, which also happens to be one of the most diverse Congress has seen, including numerous first-time candidates.

These lawmakers are part of a wave of women who won races in the 2018 midterms, a cycle that saw a groundbreaking number of women not only declare their candidacies, but ultimately secure seats in Congress.

Their overwhelming victories were clearly evident on Tuesday night.