The outcome of Tuesday's election wasn't only good news for Barack Obama - in an election defined by phrases like "the war on women" and both parties' frantic appeals to "the female vote", women took more seats in the Senate than ever before. They'll now hold 20 seats, an increase from the previous record total of 17.
There was also great news for those of us who are tired of seeing white men dominate politics in a diverse world - Hawaii's Mazie Hirono will become the first Asian-American woman in the Senate, while Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin becomes the first openly gay senator. In Illinois, Tammy Duckworth became the first disabled woman to be elected, beating the staunchly anti-choice Joe Walsh. And amazingly, New Hampshire is now represented solely by women in the House and the Senate, with a woman governor too.
There's no doubt that the catalogue of pro-woman fail exhibited by the Republican party helped the number of women in the Senate reach this all-time high. Todd Akin (yes, he of the ridiculous and incredibly offensive remarks about "legitimate rape") was at one time expected to win in Missouri, but his opponent Claire McCaskill went on the attack, with Democrat TV advertisements featuring Republican women who had been victims of sexual assault and had changed their political allegiance thanks to Akin's awful comments. On Tuesday night, she won.
Just one of the new faces in the Senate is a Republican - Nebraska's Deb Fischer. It's a great encouragement for those concerned about issues that affect women, and women's rights - it's been reported this week that women in power work harder to fight for "women's issues" regardless of whether they have personal experience of them: they feel a responsibility to advocate on behalf of women in general.
"When a female senator replaces a male senator, there is a significant increase in support for women's issues," explained Lauren Sandler in a column for The Cut.
The problem, of course, is the disparity in representation of men and women, meaning that such issues often don't receive the attention they deserve, or if they do, it's for the wrong reasons - the "war on women" being a prime example. At least we can feel more optimistic about the future - in the last 15 years, the number of women in the Senate has now more than doubled.
Overall there's the definite impression that the extreme right-wing voices defining publicity about the GOP in recent years have damaged its credibility. Whether that meant the Tea Party, misogynist pronouncements about rape and contraception, or conspiracy theories about Obama ("He's a Muslim! And a communist!"), Republicans have been left looking ridiculous, with plenty of their own supporters wishing that we see more from the more moderate, less embarrassing members and supporters of the party.
Maybe regarding black people, Hispanic people, and women as important members of the population who, you know, actually matter would improve things. Reacting to the election result, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly lamented that "the white establishment is now the minority", explaining that all those other voters feel entitled to "stuff" and that they voted for Obama because they think he will give them what they want. We can eye-roll, as no doubt you just have (and I did too), but what does it say that such public faces are decrying the influence of people who aren't white and male? Obviously the rest of us are a tiresome irrelevance as far as they're concerned.
Tuesday's result appears to show that the US is becoming more progressive, with more left-leaning politicians elected than ever before. This left-winger feels that's a good thing, and I'm hoping the next four years will bring better things for the marginalised, for those in need, and of course for women, who the right are still trying to screw over at every opportunity.
Hannah Mudge writes about all things news and feminism-themed for BitchBuzz, and is currently adjusting to life as a new mum. You can also read her blog, We Mixed Our Drinks or follow her tweets as @boudledidge.
Image via Women's Rights News on Facebook