By Cynthia Richie Terrell on April 01, 2022
New data from the Center for American Women and Politics, a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, shows slight gains for women’s representation in municipal office since we first reported this data in 2021, though women still hold less than a third of municipal offices nationwide. Women now hold 31.5% of municipal offices, including mayoral offices and city councils or similar bodies, which is a single percentage point increase from our 2021 data.
Our 2022 Women in Municipal Office fact sheet has an interactive map showing women’s share of municipal offices in all 50 states, as well as a sortable table that shows this percentage and state rankings for women’s representation in municipal offices. In addition, newly added to this table is a rank change column showing how states have gained or lost rank since this data was released in 2021. A second table on this fact sheet compares women’s representation in municipal office to their representation in state legislatures.
This data includes information about mayoral offices and members and officers of the municipal legislative branch of incorporated cities and towns with populations over 10,000, per the U.S. Census. It should be noted that there is a great deal of variance between states in how many cities and towns are included in this data. Hawaii, for example, remains in the top spot for women’s representation, but that ranking is based on just a single municipality that is both incorporated and has a population greater than 10,000: Honolulu. California, by contrast, has 394 such municipalities; with women holding 38.7% of municipal offices in the state, California holds the eighth position in our rankings.
According to Hunter, there are some misperceptions as to why women don’t hold elected office at the same rates as men. For example, she challenges an oft-cited “fact” that women need to be asked to run for office more often than men before they do so. “I don't think women are wallflowers, sitting around waiting their turn,” she says. “Women are in the trenches, whether they're volunteering on campaigns, or organizing or running. The difference is that there are still a lot of structural barriers in place for women.”
Among these structural barriers, Hunter says, are access to the high-level fundraising and social networks that men use to power their campaigns, both economically and politically.
Once one woman gets elected to a political office, however, it becomes easier for future candidates. Hunter points to Vermont’s neighboring state of New Hampshire as an example of this phenomenon. The Granite State is currently represented by two women in the Senate, and from 2017 until 2019, it had an entirely female Congressional delegation.
The 30x30 Initiative is a coalition of police leaders, researchers, and professional organizations aiming to increase the representation of women in police recruit classes to 30% by 2030 and ensure that policing culture and policies support these women throughout their careers.
Four other police departments took the pledge -- which had its one-year anniversary on Friday -- in recent weeks, including Fresno, California; the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington DC; Indiana University at Bloomington; and the city of Bloomington in Indiana, according to Kym Craven, executive director of the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE).
Research shows women make up roughly 12% of sworn law enforcement positions nationwide, and only 3% of executive level positions, Craven said.
Yet, according to our data, in 2022 women make up only 20 percent of foreign affairs ministers around the globe. The lack of female leaders in this role has consequences for policy, public opinion and women’s broader access to power.
The secretary of state — or foreign affairs minister in other countries — oversees foreign policy and diplomatic relations. This is typically a high-profile executive branch position. In the United States, for example, the secretary of state helps shape U.S. overseas policy and is the first Cabinet member in the presidential line of succession.
WhenAlbright became secretary of state in January 1997, this position was male-dominated, not only in the United States but around the world. Only 39 other women (from 33 countries) had served as foreign affairs ministers. And women had rarely held the position in the most powerful nations. Among Group of Seven countries, for example, only Italy and Canada had previously appointed women to lead the foreign affairs ministry.
Across both The Female Opportunity Index and the Women, Peace and Security Index, the Nordic nations outperform all other nations. These countries – Norway, Finland, Iceland – are synonymous with strong policies that support parents and encourage equality in the workplace both in terms of pay and participation.
“Data has also shown that in countries where there is more gender parity, poverty drops and economies grow, while new research has shown that companies who foster female leadership perform better and increase profits,” Adrienne Gormley, former COO of German digital bank N26, says.
The gender corrective mechanism will only apply once the casual elections are over, but a look at official figures published by the Electoral Commission puts a spotlight on which women are in the running to make use of the new system.
Under the mechanism, up to 12 seats can be added if the less represented gender, in this case, women, make up less than 40% of parliament. Each party can add up to six seats each.
Unelected female candidates will be ranked according to the number of votes they received by the time they were knocked out of the race and picked accordingly.