That's according to the Center for Women and American Politics at Rutgers University, a research, education and public service center that serves as a bridge between the academic and political worlds.
CAWP director Debbie Walsh noted:
Many women were nominated for winnable seats, so more women won. Along with incumbents seeking re-election, we saw women contending for competitive open seats and challenging vulnerable incumbents. This year women were positioned for success, not merely offered up by parties as 'sacrificial lambs,'
From information compiled by CAWP, here is the breakdown of women serving in Congress in 2009:
US Senate17 women total
- 13 Democrats
- 4 Republicans
- 4 won seats in this election - 2 incumbents, 2 challengers
US House of Representatives74 women total
- 57 Democrats
- 17 Republicans
- 10 newcomers (8D, 2R) join 64 incumbents (49D, 15R)
- 5 were challengers (4D, 1R) who defeated incumbents
- 5 were winners (4D, 1R) of open seats
- 21 are women of color
- 12 African-Americans (12D)
- 7 Latinas (6D, 1R)
- 2 Asian-Americans (2D)
"Record Numbers of Women to Serve in Senate and House."Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, 10 November 2008.