WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — On Thursday, Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner recognized female leaders from the state of Virginia. During the event on Capitol Hill the senators said touted Virginia as a leader in diversity in government.
“We had an historic number of women running for Congress this year and elected. We did that at the house level in Virginia” said Delegate Hala Ayala.
Delegate Hala Ayala became one of the first Latinas to serve the Commonwealth. She ran and won on issues including expanding medicaid and women’s health.
Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger said diversity is key for legislation, including the Violence Against Women Act.
“We bring a perspective, we bring our experiences” said Rep. Spanberger. “I think that is important in any conversation.”
Women make up more than half of the United States population, but they’re only 25 percent of Congress. Female lawmakers are using their voice to hep raise awareness about issues often overlooked, such as the gender pay gap.
“In a country where the majority of folks are women, that’s just not fair economically or in terms of how we should be approaching the work place,” Warner said.
Warner said it’s important to recognize female leaders at the local and national levels and their significant impact on future generations.
Rep. Spanberger’s youngest daughter spent the day watching her mom meet with constituents and other legislators on Capitol Hill.
“Kids get to see what’s happening in D.C., but I think it is important for people to remember the whole person that makes up our legislation,” Spanberger said.
“Hopefully they see their future because you can’t be what you can’t see,” Ayala said. “That representation of women at the forefront, we are leading the way.”