New Feminist in Office: Stephanie Murphy

We didn’t yet break that looming glass ceiling of the presidency, but there is still much to celebrate in the election of 2016. Congress will be more diverse and have more women of color than ever—thanks to a strong group of feminists heading now for their first term in the House and Senate. 

In the 115th Congress, 83 women will serve in the House of Representatives. Among them is Stephanie Murphy, who turned a red seat blue in Florida.

This profile of Murphy is part of a larger piece introducing her and the other women new to Congress next year in our special member-only fall issue of Ms. To meet the rest of her cohort, subscribe today.


Stephanie Murphy made history when she defeated 12-term incumbent John Mica in a heated race to represent Florida’s 7th District: The 37-year-old is the first Vietnamese American woman to be elected to Congress.

The daughter of refugees, Murphy was the first woman in her family to go to college. She entered the corporate world after earning a master’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University, but after the Sept. 11 attacks felt compelled to enter public service. She soon joined the Department of Defense as a national security specialist.

An avid feminist, Murphy is an active member of Support Our Scholars—an organization that helps send women facing economic hardship to college—and has pledged to lead efforts in Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and close the wage gap.




Carmen Rios is a self-proclaimed feminist superstar and the former digital editor at Ms. Her writing on queerness, gender, race and class has been published in print and online by outlets including BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, DAME, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic, the National Women’s History Museum, SIGNS and the Women’s Media Center; and she is a co-founder of Webby-nominated Argot Magazine. @carmenriosss|