Women made historic gains in the Senate last night: This past session, 17 women served; when the 113th Congress convenes in January, there will be 20 women representing their states in the U.S. Senate. Let's meet our Madame Senators!
One of the most high-profile winners in of the 2012 election, Baldwin is the first woman to represent Wisconsin in the upper house -- and the first out lesbian in the Senate.
Oct. 18, 2012 - Wausau, WI, USA - Democratic candidate and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin gives her closing statements during the second of two senatorial debates with Republican candidate and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson at the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service at UWMC in Wausau, Wisconsin, Thursday, October 18, 2012. (Image: © Gary Porter/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com)
The conservative Republican rancher and congressional representative from Valentine, Nebraska fought a tough race for an open seat against former senator and presidential candidate Bob Kerrey, who was plumping for a comeback. Her win -- one of the few Senate seats the GOP picked up in 2012 -- made her the first woman senator from Nebraska since 1954.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Heidi Heitkamp has just won the North Dakota Senate race; the unofficial margin was under one percentage point, but her opponent, U.S. Rep Rick Berg, conceded on November 7. Heitkamp, a former state attorney general who, though a Democrat describes herself as "an independent voice," is the first woman senator from her state.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)
The Democrat from Hawaii is now the first Asian American woman elected to the Senate, as well as the first Japanese immigrant and first Buddhist senator. Currently a Congressional Representative, Hirono beat out Republican Gov. Linda Lingle for the seat she'll occupy in January.
Harvard professor and bankruptcy law expert Warren is a longtime consumer advocate whose work led to the creation of the U.S. Consumer Financial Bureau in 2012; she served as special advisor to the bureau from 2010-2011. Warren defeated Republican incumbent (and former Cosmo centerfold) Scott Brown to become Massachusetts' first woman Senator (really!)
Sept. 5, 2012 - Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. - ELIZABETH WARREN, a candidate for U.S. Senate in Massachussetts, speaks on the second night at the 2012 Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena. (Image: © Harry E. Walker/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com)
The New Hampshire Republican won her second term in the Senate last night. The pro-life former prosecutor is a rising Latina political star; she spoke at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and her name was bandied about early on as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney.
Aug. 28, 2012 - Tampa, FL, USA - U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) speaks at the second day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, Tuesday, August 28, 2012. (Image: © Harry Walker/Mct/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com)
One of the most recognizable women in Congress, the California Democratic Chief Deputy Whip was elected to her fifth term in 2010. Boxer began her Washington career in the House of Representatives; she was sent to the Senate during the 1992 elections known as the “Year of the Woman."
Sept. 14, 2011 - Washington, District of Columbia, U.S. - Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman BARBARA BOXER (D-CA) arrives for a news conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday announcing legislation to safeguard Social Security. (Image: © Pete Marovich/ZUMAPRESS.com))
This Washington State Democrat was easily re-elected to her third term in the Senate with a platform that focused on jobs and the economy. Cantwell is a political veteran; she was elected to her state legislature at age 28 and moved up to the House of Representatives in 1992 before becoming a senator in 2001.
April 25, 2012 - Washington, DC, U.S. - Sen. MARIA CANTWELL, D-WA, questions witnesses during a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee on reforming the federal tax code. (Credit Image: © Jay Mallin/ZUMAPRESS.com)
Known for her bipartisan work, the pro-choice Republican from Maine continues on in the Senate. Collins is called one of the few remaining moderate Republicans from New England.
May 23, 2012 - Washington, District of Columbia, U.S. - Senator Joe Leiberman (ID-CT), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee looks on as Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) as she questions Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan on the Secret Service prostitution scandal. (Image: © Pete Marovich/ZUMAPRESS.com)
The Democratic senior senator has had a long political career, starting in the 1970s on the San Francisco city council; she was present during the Harvey Milk assassination and later became She was elected to the Senate during California's "Year of the Woman" vote in 1992. She defeated her Republican challenger, Elizabeth Emken, to hold her seat for a fourth term. Feinstein is currently chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Aug. 29, 2012 - Modesto, California, U.S. - DEBBIE NODAemail@example.com.US Senator Dianne Feinstein, talks with the press after speaking Doubletree for the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, Aug. 29, 2012. (Image: © Debbie Noda/Modesto Bee/ZUMAPRESS.com)
The Democrat from New York appointed to replace Hillary Clinton in 2009 defended her seat in a race against another female candidate, Republican Wendy Long. Gillibrand is known as strongly pro-choice and an advocate for the middle class.
Sept. 5, 2012 - Charlotte, North Carolina, USA - United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Democrat of New York) arrives for a ''Women of the United States Senate'' event at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday, September 5, 2012. (Image: © Ron Sachs/DPA/ZUMAPRESS.com)
In 2008, Hagen beat out incumbent Elizabeth Dole to become the first woman to defeat a female incumbent for a Senate seat. She is a pro-choice Democrat and a staunch proponent of the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Washington, District of Columbia, U.S. - Sen. KAY HAGAN, North Carolina Democrat, speaks during a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions [HELP] Committee. ( Image: © Jay Mallin/ZUMAPRESS.com)
The senior senator from Minnesota was a legal adviser to former Vice-President Walter Mondale. A progressive Democrat and an advocate for outdoor recreation, she has been mentioned as a possible future presidential candidate or Supreme Court nominee. Senator Klobuchar will begin her second Senate term in January.
Nov. 6, 2012 - Minneapolis, MN, USA - Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), center, joined by her daughter, Abigail Klobuchar Bessler, casts her vote at Marcy School in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. (Image: © Elizabeth Flores/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com)
The Louisiana Democrat retains a Senate seat she’s held since 1996. Does her name sound familiar? Maybe it’s because her brother, Mitch, is the mayor of New Orleans.
Oct. 18, 2011 - Washington, District of Columbia, U.S. - Senator MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA) listens to testimony from Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner as he testifies during a Senate Small Business Committee Tuesday morning on Capitol Hill. (Image: © Pete Marovich/ZUMAPRESS.com)
The Democratic senior senator from Missouri defeated challenger Todd Akin on Election Night to pick up a second term after a fight that included Akin's controversial remarks about "legitimate rape." She is the first woman senator from Missouri.
Nov. 6, 2012 - St. Louis, MO, USA - Democratic U.S. Senate incumbent candidate Claire McCaskill gives her victory speech at her election watch party at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. (Image: © David Eulitt/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com)
The senior senator from Maryland is the longest-serving woman in Congress; she was re-elected to her fourth term in the 2010 midterm elections. This year, she gave an epic floor speech about wage fairness, in which she exhorted the Senate to "Put on your lipstick, square your shoulders, suit up, and let’s fight for a new American revolution." The chair of the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, Mikulski was honored with a supernova in her name earlier this year.
Sept. 5, 2012 - Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. - Sen. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D-MD) is applauded by her fellow Democratic female members of the Senate and the delegates on the second night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena. (Image: © Harry E. Walker/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com)
While she may not be as well known as the other Republican woman from Alaska, Murkowski continues on in a seat she's held since 2002. Murkowski is known as a pro-choice, moderate Republican.
April 2, 2012 - Fairbanks, AK, U.S. - Sam Harrel/News-Miner.U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski waves to a friend as she takes the podium during the 2012 Annual Spring Luncheon on Monday, April 2, 2012, at the Westmark. (Image: © Sam Harrel/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner/ZUMAPRESS.com)
The former school board member retains her seat in the Senate as one of the two Democratic women to represent the state of Washington. Murray is true to her roots: Education remains a big part of her platform.
Sept. 5, 2012 - Charlotte, NC, USA - U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) speaks to the delegates on the second night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena, Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Image: © Harry E. Walker/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com)
The first American woman in history to be elected both governor and senator, Shaheen often works on bipartisan measures in the Senate. She's part of the team that made history with women holding all New Hampshire's top political seats as of last night.
Senator Stabenow was re-elected to a third term last night. Earlier this year, Senator Stabenow's opponent Pete Hoekstra ran a negative campaign that was roundly criticized for its racist anti-Chinese imagery. Stabenow is the chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
May 1, 2011 - Michigan, MI, U.S. - Sen Debbie Stabenow is announced at the 56th Annual Detroit Branch NAACP Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner at Cobo Center, Sunday, May 1, 2011. (Image: © Detroit Free Press/ZUMAPRESS.com)
Warm goodbyes to Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), who are stepping down; and condolences to Shelly Berkley (D-NV), Cynthia Dill (D-ME), Elizabeth Emken (R-CA), Linda Lingle (R-HI), Wendy Long (R-NY), Linda McMahon (R-CT), and Heather Wilson (R-NM), who ran but lost this year.
BlogHer News & Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch also contributed to this slideshow.