"Is it possible that Congress would get more done if there were more women in Congress?... I think it’s fair to say: That is almost guaranteed."
President Barack Obama stood to benefit politically from making that statement in April 2012, but his inference is worth considering. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand reflected in 2011, "My own experience in Congress is when women are on committees and at hearings, the nature of the discussion is different, and the outcomes are better –- we reach better solutions, better decisions are made."
Bloggers, women currently in office and groups that advocate for female candidates have argued that more women in Congress would result in greater protection of reproductive rights and contraception access, as well as more aggressive attempts to end pay inequality, guarantee paid parental leave and create legislation that serves families better. Whether those claims are true will only become clear if more women get elected to the Senate and the House.
According to the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics, women hold 16.8 percent of U.S. congressional seats -- 17 of 100 in the Senate and 73 of the 435 in the House. Only 26 states have female representatives in the House. Four states (Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi and Vermont) have never elected a woman to Congress. A report from Political Parity, a program dedicated to doubling the number of women in Congress, describes the nuanced challenges female candidates face when it comes to fundraising. There is evidence that the media and the public judge female candidates' appearances, personal lives and likability more critically than they do male candidates', and women running for national office still get asked inappropriate questions like the now infamous "Fifty Shades of Grey" question a journalist in New York State put to Senator Gillibrand and her opponent, Republican Wendy Long, during a debate.
In November, however, American voters have the best chance yet to change the status quo. As NPR reported, more women than ever are running for Congress this year -- 18 for the Senate and 163 for the House, not including write-in or third-party candidates.
To help you get to know them, we've created the infographic below featuring all of the women running for Congress in November -- Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians and other third party candidates. Click "House" or "Senate" on the top right to see the states and districts with female candidates. Hover over individual states and districts to see the women running from each.
Many candidates also agreed to be interviewed by HuffPost Women and answered questions about everything from the issues they care most about to the best advice they've received. You can access the answers of those who have participated so far by hovering over their states or districts, then clicking. Each woman's responses will appear in a new window.
So click around and get to know the women campaigning to represent you. And no matter what you think of them, fit voting into your day on November 6.
UPDATE: The infographic below shows the results of the 2012 congressional election for all races already decided, and we will continue to update it as more winners are declared.
INFOGRAPHIC: Meet The Women You Elected To Congress
Research and photo research by Nina Bahadur and Christina Huffington.
CORRECTION: This post previously listed U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin as a Republican and omitted several female candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives. Baldwin is a Democrat, and all female House candidates now appear on the infographic.