Women's Representation

RepresentWomen compiles information about the current status of women's representation through research from other organizations as well as through our own original research. 

To learn more about our research and to see how each U.S. state ranks in terms of women's representation, check out the 2018 Gender Parity Index.        

Click on a topic to begin.

U.S. Overview

Women are 51% of the population in the U.S. but make up only:

  • 23% of the U.S. Senate
  • 19% of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • 24% of statewide offices
  • 25% of state legislative seats
  • 20% of mayors in cities with populations over 30,000
  • 0% of presidents of the United States

 

For certain demographics, the numbers are even worse

Women of color, Republican women, young women, and low-income women are especially underrepresented.

Learn more about how demographics affect representation

 

In 2018 women of color only make up:

  • 36.5% of the women serving in Congress
  • 9.3% of the women serving in statewide elected offices
  • 23.8% of female state legislators
  • 7% of mayors in the nation’s 100 largest cities 

In 2018 Republican women only make up:

  • 23.8% of women serving in the U.S. Senate
  • 25.3% of women serving in the U.S. House
  • 66% of women serving as governors
  • 38% of women state legislators

 

Data from a fact sheet from the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University (CAWP)

 

 

Women's Representation in Local Government

 

Find out how voting reforms can impact local elections

 

Executive Office

Women serve as mayors in 20 of the 100 largest cities, according to the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University.

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Legislative Bodies

Among the largest 100 cities in the United States, the average percentage of women on city councils with only at-large seats is 40% while the average percentage of women on city councils with only single member district seats is 31%. When city councils have both at-large seats and single-member district seats, the average percentage of women is 35%. 

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Women's Representation in State Government

 

Find out how voting reforms can impact state elections

 

Statewide Executive Office

Only 6 out of 50 U.S. states have women governors, 12 women serve as lieutenant governors, and 57 women hold other statewide offices such as attorney general or secretary of state. 23 states have never elected a woman governor.

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Number of women serving: 72 out of 312
Percentage of women: 23.1%
Number of Republicans: 43
Number of Democrats: 28
Women of color: 8
First woman elected in her own right: Ella Grasso (CT) in 1975

 

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State Legislatures

Number of women serving: 1,878 out of 7,383 seats
Percentage of women: 25.4%
Number of Republicans: 706
Number of Democrats: 1,145
Number of nonpartisans: 114
Number of independents: 7

Number of Progressives: 5

Number of Working Families Party: 1

Women of color: 454
First women elected: Clara Cressingham, Carrie C. Holly, and Frances Klock - 1894

 

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 Data from the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University

Women's Representation in Congress

Find out how voting reforms can impact federal elections

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U.S. House of Representatives

Number of women serving: 84* out of 435
Percentage of women: 19.3%
Number of Republicans: 23
Number of Democrats: 61
Women of color: 34* (31D, 3R)
First woman elected: Jeannette Rankin (MT) in 1916 
*Does not include women delegates from the U.S. Territories
Fact sheet from the Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University

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U.S. Senate

Number of women serving: 23 out of 100
Percentage of women serving: 23%
Number of Republicans: 5
Number of Democrats: 18
Women of color: 4 (4D, 0R)
Most represented states: CA, NH, WA, MN
First woman elected: Hattie Caraway (AR) in 1932 

Fact sheet from the Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University

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Women's Representation in U.S. Territories

Five out of the six (83.3.%) non-voting representatives in the House of Representatives are women. By contrast, only 107 out of the 535 (20.0%) elected members of Congress from the fifty states are women. 

infogram_0_us_territories_vs_the_50_states_in_percentage_of_elected_delagates_that_are_womenUS Territories in Comparison to the 50 US States in Terms of Percentage of Female Elected Representatives//e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed.js?1PMtext/javascript

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Mayor: Muriel Bowser (D) has served as mayor since 2015. Sharon Pratt Kelly served as mayor from 1991-1995. She was also the first African American woman to serve as mayor of a major American city

City Council: Four of the District's 13 city council members (31%) are women

Delegate to U.S. House: Eleanor Holmes Norton has served as the District's one non-voting representative in Congress since 1991

 

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Governor: Síla Calderon served as the first and only woman governor from 2001-2005

Legislature: Fourteen of the 81 seats (17%) are held by women

Mayors: San Juan and Ponce, the largest and fourth largest cities respectively, both have female mayors

Delegate to the U.S. House: Jenniffer González was elected Resident Commissioner in 2016 and is the first woman to hold the position

 

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Governor: No woman has served as governor of Guam

Legislature: Five of the 15 seats (33%) are held by women. Therese M. Terlaje currently serves as the vice-Speaker

Mayors: Dededo, Tamuning, and Barrigada, Guam's first, third, and fifth largest villages respectively, all have female mayors

Delegate to the U.S. House: Madeleine Bordallo (D) has served as Guam's first woman non-voting delegate since 2003

 

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Governor: No woman has served as governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands

Legislature: Four of 15 seats (26.7%) are held by women

Delegate to the U.S. House: Stacey Plaskett (D) currently serves as the delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, starting in 2015. Her predecessor, Donna Christian-Christensen, served from 1997-2015

 

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Governor: No woman has served as governor of the Northern Mariana Islands

Legislature: Three of the 29 seats (10.3%) are held by women. This is the second-lowest percentage in the country.

Delegate to the U.S. House: No woman has served as the delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives

 

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Governor: No woman has served as governor of American Samoa

Legislature: Three out of 39 seats (7.7%) are held by women. This is the lowest of any state or territory in the country

Delegate to the U.S. House: Amata Coleman Radewagen has served as American Samoa's first female non-voting delegate since 2015

Women's Representation Internationally

The United States ranks behind 103 other countries for women's political representation, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Visit their site to find the most up to date information on international women's representation.

Click here to see a full list of how countries rank for women’s representation, what type of voting system is used, and whether or not they have a quota.

 

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Women in Executive and Legislative Office

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Women's Representation in the Judiciary

Women attend law school at equal rates as men but are underrepresented as judges

  • 33.3% of Supreme Court Justices
  • 34.3% of Federal Judges (excluding the Supreme Court)
  • 30.2% of State Judges

Out of the 113 justices that have served on the Supreme Court, there have only been four women - three of whom are currently on the bench. Sixty of the 165 active judges currently sitting on the thirteen federal courts of appeal are female (36%), and on several of the individual courts, women constitute less than one-quarter of the judges.

These numbers are even worse for women of color

  • 11.1% of Supreme Court Justices
  • 10.8% of Federal Judges (excluding the Supreme Court)
  • 7.8% of State Judges

Women of color are less represented than any other demographic group, as their numbers (at the state level) represent a mere 40% of their relative numbers in the general population. Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the first and only woman of color to sit on the Supreme Court. 

Is representation improving?

When in office, President Obama facilitated significant progress for women judges and more than doubled the number of women of color to federal judicial positions. 42 percent of his confirmed nominees to federal courts were women. 

It remains to be seen if this progress will continue through future presidencies, but the current signs do not bode well. As of June 2018, President Trump has nominated 120 judges, of which only 29 (24%) are women. 

 

Learn more about women in the judiciary

Sources: National Women's Law Center, The Gavel Gap, Alliance for Justice, Federal Judicial Center

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