KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Across the country, more women are serving as elected officials than ever before.
On the national level, of the 535 people who make up the United States Congress, 128 are women.
Here in Knoxville, a majority of the newly elected city council is female for the first time.
Seven women and two men will serve under mayor elect Indya Kincannon.
"The fact that we have so many women now makes us think about, oh wow, what did representation look like previously?" said sociologist Dr. Tricia Bruce.
She said government won't change with more women in charge, but viewpoints could.
"Women for so long have been excluded from these voices and positions and so the fact that this is starting to change makes us realize wow, maybe this says something about who's being represented, what kind of issues are taking hold," said Bruce.
Bruce said a diverse city council can tackle community issues in a new way.
"You're gonna be aware of different hardships or different opportunities whereas someone else who has never experienced that or seen that won't," she said.
Women can bring new issues and perspectives to the table.
A UT political science professor echoes that, saying representation becomes more apparent.
"There are lots of different smaller communities in Knoxville and sometimes if those communities aren't represented by someone like themselves their needs might be overlooked," said UT Assistant Professor of Political Science Christopher Ojeda.
He said having women in local government also serves as an inspiration to future lawmakers.
"[This] is really important for raising a generation of girls who believe they can participate," he said.
At the end of the day, these new city councilwomen aren't caught up in breaking stereotypes.
"I guess that's cool," said city council member elect Lynne Fugate. "I was on a female majority board of education so I'm not new to a female majority elected body."
They just want to get the job done.
"We should celebrate it now but then we need to sort of get to work focusing on policy solutions and not just sort of the composition of the council," said Ojeda.
The new city council members will start their terms in January.