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Connecticut receives a D for gender parity in government

Ella T. Grasso made history in 1974 as the first woman elected governor in her own right but Connecticut now lags behind other states when it comes to gender parity in elective office.

A non-partisan group that tracks female representation in government gives the state a D for the number of women serving in local, state and federal positions.

The survey, conducted by Represent Women, a non-profit group dedicated to increasing the percentage of women in elective office, ranked Connecticut 24th among the 50 states in terms of gender parity. New Hampshire was first and Utah was last.

About one third of Connecticut state legislators are women, but only one of the four caucuses in the General Assembly--the House Republican caucus--is led by a woman, Rep. Themis Klarides of Derby.

Of the state’s 31 cities with a populations of at least 30,000 people, only nine have female mayors.

And women hold just two of the six constitutional offices: Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.

Women also occupy two of the state’s five seats in Congress and Connecticut has never elected a woman to the U.S. Senate.

“While there were some gains for women this election cycle- especially women of color, we are still very far from gender parity in government,” said Cynthia Richie Terrell, RepresentWomen founder and director. “We need a reference point to see what strategies are working to elect more women, and this index provides that baseline.”

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