WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the first time in the nation's history, 20 percent of the United States Senate is made up of women. All 20 women were honored in a special awards ceremony Thursday, at the National Press Club.
"They have set a powerful example for young people across our country," said Allegheny College President James Mullen. "They're an example of what the best in American politics can look like. An example that should inspire the next generation of leadership in the United States."
That is why Allegheny College honored those 20 women with the Prize for Civility in Public Life, an award created to recognize public figures who advance civility. Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Susan Collins (R-ME), the highest ranking female Democrat and Republican in the Senate, accepted the awards on their colleagues' behalf.
"It's not only recognizing an individual senator, but also recognizing us as a group as we try to change the tone, and therefore, change the tide of how the U.S. Government is functioning," Mikulski said.
"We bring different life experiences, and different perspectives to the Senate," said Collins. "And I also believe that there is a difference in our style of governing."
Some political analysts credit the women of the Senate for forcing the end of the government shut down last October. Former Pennsylvania governor and first secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge spoke about the Senators' influence during that time.
"I stand in admiration of their strong, well-articulated partisan views," Ridge said. "I stand in admiration of their willingness to make a difference. I stand in admiration that there able to do it with a sense of self and self-awareness."
After the ceremony, Ridge said he looks forward to seeing what is next for the women in politics.
"You can be a strong partisan, but there are times when partisanship needs to be secondary to working together to achieve outcomes," Ridge said. "And if it takes more women in order to achieve better outcomes, I'm all for it."
This was the third year for the Civility in Public Life Awards. Representatives from Allegheny College said they are looking forward to continuing the tradition for years to come.