California Democrat Nancy Pelosi has again been elected as Speaker – the third most powerful role in Washington – in the US House of Representatives.
She reclaimed the gavel after the most diverse class of lawmakers were sworn in and as Democrats took control of the House after mid-term elections gains.
Her victory came as the US government remained partly shut down in a row over funds for the president’s border wall.
Ms Pelosi has said she wants to end the shutdown but will not support the wall. “I’m particularly proud to be a woman Speaker of the house of this Congress, which marks the 100th year of women having the right to vote,” she said.
“And, that we all have the ability and the privilege to serve with over 100 women members of Congress – the largest number in history. ”
Ms Pelosi, 78, seized the gavel as the House welcomed more women than ever before in the 116th Congress.
As of Thursday, 102 women serve in the House, an all-time high, including 36 newly elected members and a record 43 women of colour.
While Republican women marked some firsts this past election season – like Marsha Blackburn becoming the first female Tennessee senator – the vast majority of these new lawmakers are Democrats.
Among them are the first Muslim congresswomen – Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar – and the first Native American women to serve – New Mexico’s Debra Haaland and Kansas’ Sharice Davids.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York also became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
While celebrating the Democratic diversity during the swearing-in ceremonies, some on social media highlighted the contrast to the Republican members, who are mostly white men.
Carol Miller of West Virginia is the only new female Republican representative, bringing the total number of conservative women in the House to 13 – a decrease from 23 before the mid-term elections.