women's representation


Women's Representation in Costa Rica

Posted on Blog on July 03, 2019

While there are several reasons I believe in efforts to support female candidates, my semester abroad in Costa Rica gave me a new perspective on gender parity pursuits. Studying their electoral system and gender quota laws prompted me to consider what institutional reforms would look like in the United States and strengthened my dedication to advocacy surrounding this topic. 


Election Eve 2018 Update: Weekend Reading on Women's Representation November 5, 2018

Posted on Blog on November 05, 2018

Before the final frenzy of GOTV and the inevitable coverage of close wins and losses and the discussion of what it all means for our democracy, I wanted to take a moment to thank all the terrific candidates and the groups and individuals who have helped them make this year a milestone for women candidates. Thank you. Thanks to the candidates, thanks to all of you who have supported the candidates, thanks to the many organizations who have identified & guided the candidates, thanks to all the donors who have helped to make their campaigns viable, and thanks to all those who have supported their wives/mothers/daughters/sisters as they run for office.



Women are Underrepresented on the Courts

Posted on Blog by on June 20, 2018

While there has been much media coverage on gender disparity in the legislative branch, there is little attention being paid to the lack of representation of women and people of color in the judicial branch. Less than one-third of state judges are women, even while women make up more than one-half of the U.S. population. People of color make up about 40% of the population, but account for less than 20 percent of state judges. At the federal level, only 36 percent of United States trial court judges are women and only 10.5 percent of U.S. federal judges are women of color.


Women's Representation & Ranked Choice Voting in four Bay Area Cities

Posted on Blog on June 08, 2018

Four cities in the Bay Area—San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro—have made the switch to an electoral system called Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). RCV is a voting system that allows voters to rank candidates as their first, second, third choice and so on. If no candidate has a majority when votes are counted, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated, and ballots that have those candidates marked as their first choice are counted towards the candidate they selected as their second choice. This process results in elections that are fairer and better represent voters’ preferences.


A Conversation with Nadya Okamoto: Ranked Choice Voting, Young Women Running, and Representative Democracy

Posted on Blog on November 03, 2017

At the age of 19 years-old, second year Harvard student Nadya Okamoto is running for Cambridge City Council. There are currently twenty-six candidates running for nine at-large council seats on the council, six of which incumbent seats. Cambridge, Massachusetts conducts its elections using ranked choice voting, which allows voters to rank candidates in order of choice. Representation2020 sat down to talk with Nadya about the value of a representative democracy and ranked choice voting. “I am running in a district where over 35% of the demographic is under the age of 25 and over 34% of the adult population is enrolled in the university, yet we’ve never has student or youth representation on council.” As a supporter of representative democracy, she believes “we elect people to be able to represent experiences and basically act as megaphones for what the residents need.” Nadya believes that to truly be representative the council needs to have someone “living the experiences” or “can truly empathize” with the experiences of a student. She is looking to bridge that gap and believes it is important that young people’s voices are in the conversation, especially young women, because they are a part of the community.


The Status of Women's Representation on the NYC Council

Posted on Blog on October 25, 2017

Women make up a majority of the population in New York City. In 2001,18 women served on the New York City Council but in 2017 only 13 women serve on the 51-seat City Council, and that number is projected to shrink in 2018. Out of the 13 current city councilwomen, four were ineligible to run again due to term limits, while one decided not to run for re-election. All five of these women are of color. At best, 12 women will be serving in the 2018 New York City Council. There were no primary challengers for the single Republican incumbent up for re-election. Though 113 Democrats ran for contested seats, only 38 were women. A third of Democratic primaries didn’t even have a woman on the ballot. No women are running to replace Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, meaning that New York City will be bereft of a female speaker for the first time since 2005.


Multi-Winner Districts and Women’s Representation: From New Zealand to the United States

Posted on Blog on September 29, 2017

New Zealand recently conducted its 2017 Parliamentary elections. With a mixed member electoral system in the House of Representatives, officials are elected from both single-winner electorates and party lists. In the recent election, 45% of the party list seats (multi-winner) were won by women, compared to only 35% of the general electorate seats (single-winner).


Gender Parity Index

Posted on Our Research on September 05, 2017

To quantify progress towards gender parity in elected and appointed office, RepresentWomen developed the Gender Parity Index (GPI). Each year, a Gender Parity Score and grade is calculated for each of the 50 states and for the United States as a whole. The Gender Parity Score reflects women's recent electoral successes at the local, state, and national levels on a scale of 0 (if no women were elected to any offices) to 100 (if women held all elected offices). The key advantage of the GPI is that it enables comparisons to be made over time and among states. 

2021 Data Methodology Score Chart State-by-State Graphics GPI History

Gender Parity Index 2014-2020 Report Library:

Breaking Down the History of the Gender Parity Index

In January 2021, Kamala Harris was sworn in as Vice President of the United States. Twelve women have since advanced into top leadership roles in President Biden's Cabinet. A record number of women were sworn in to serve the 117th Congress. More women are being appointed and elected to state executive offices. Women hold almost a third of all seats in state legislatures. And the number of Black women leading major US cities has reached an all-time high. 

And yet, overall progress towards parity in the US remains frustratingly incremental. In 2021, the average Gender Parity Score is 24.63. If we round up, this brings us to an average score of 25 out of 100, which means we are halfway to parity. In 2020, the average score was 23.85 (24 out of 100); in 2019, the average score was 23.23 (23 out of 100). Progress towards parity remains uneven across geography, race, party, and age. Today, women hold just over a quarter of all available seats in government, from national and state-level offices to major local-level offices. 

infogram_0_fad77bb9-af8c-4e91-b796-945617266905GPI History 2014 - 2020https://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed.js?Ua8text/javascript

Existing strategies to increase the number of women in government have only gotten us halfway to parity - equality can't wait another 100+ years.

Over the last several decades, advocates in the United States have focused on building a pipeline of women in elected office by preparing individual women to run. As important as this work is, it won't work on its own. The fact that we are still celebrating candidate firsts for women serves as a reminder of how incremental progress has been over the past century. 

To change this, we need to invest in systems strategies that will help women to Run, Win, Serve, and Lead


Starting from the Bottom is Why We're Here: Representation in Political Theory

Posted on Blog by on July 21, 2017

Over the past year we’ve been looking at powerful women, and the lack thereof, in executive, legislative, judicial, civil service, and security positions. We want to provide data to help contextualize questions of barriers preventing women from climbing up the public service ladder, and eventually provide a tool for overcoming these barriers - from legislation to grassroots organizing. But these questions got me thinking, not necessarily about the pathways and obstacles that individual women face in their journeys to public leadership, but about the pathway that our society is currently on, and how unchanged that pathway has remained since Athens in the fifth century B.C. It is called “the canon” – specifically, the political theory canon. This canon, and the men that have created it, defined not only western political thinking, but western political structures. These works are considered timeless– which means that not only are their grandiose ideas of liberty and democracy carried into the 21st century, but their bigotry and biases come along too.