(WOMENSENEWS)–1992. Motive, opportunity and preparation converge in the November election to triple the number of women U.S. senators from two to six. Women also gained in the House of Representatives in this watershed election, rising from 29 to 48 female congresswomen.

Women nationwide were outraged by the treatment of Anita Hill by the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee during hearings on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. Hill’s charge that she was sexually harassed by Thomas when both worked at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and her dismissive treatment by some committee members resonated with American women, prompting them to run for Congress in record numbers.

The news media coined the term “Year of the Woman” to describe the relatively large gains, passing over the decades of work involved getting qualified women in the political pipeline.

The next big leap in the number of women senators did not come until 2000. There are now 61 female members of the House and 13 women senators, including four new winners in the last election.