100th woman in Congress to take oath

Alma Adams, a Democrat from North Carolina, will set a new record by becoming the 100th woman to serve in the current Congress. She will be sworn in Wednesday.

'30 in 30': Women Candidates to Watch in 2014—Alma Adams

Last week, Adams was elected to serve the remainder of former Rep. Mel Watt's two-year term. Adams was also elected last Tuesday to serve a term in the upcoming 113th Congress, which will convene early next year. Adams beat her opponent, Republican Vince Coakley, and became her state's first victorious Democratic woman elected to the House in more than 20 years. In May, Adams won a seven-way primary against six men.

Watts gave up his congressional seat in North Carolina's 12th Congressional District and became the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency on Jan. 6. Gov. Pat McCrory decided the election of a new representative from one of the state's two majority minority districts could wait, leaving residents without voting representation in the House for 10 months.

As she said in her speech following the election last Tuesday, Adams will be the first woman to represent the 12th Congressional District, the 15th African-American woman in the 113th Congress, and the second African-American woman to ever represent North Carolina in Congress.

For half a century, women have outvoted men. In the 2012 election, women composed 53% of the electorate. Since 1980, women have cast ballots at a higher rate than men in presidential and midterm elections.

All issues, ranging from unemployment to education, are women's issues, Adams told msnbc on Saturday. "Because many of the issues we're talking about today impact women to a greater degree, we need to be involved. Of course, we can't serve if we don't run."

Congressional members returned to Washington Wednesday following their fall election break.