Weekend Reading on Women's Representation February 2, 2018

By Cynthia Terrell on February 02, 2018

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​The year 2020 is fast-approaching so we have decided to change the name of Representation2020 to RepresentWomen. I like the simplicity of RepresentWomen and hope that you will too!

I am attending the Unrig the System conference in New Orleans this weekend where I will be speaking along side FairVote staff and an incredible line-up of other experts on various systems and the reforms needed to make democracy work better for all of us.
It's a joy to be here but I do not have time to for even a hasty summation of the week's news but I will share two things:
1) The Washington Post featured an important piece on women in elected office that I will share most of because it is so very relevant:

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, an unprecedented number of women — primarily Democrats — are running for office in 2018. Final numbers will not be available for some time, but Emily’s List, an organization that works to elect Democratic women, has reported being contacted by more than 26,000 women who are interested in running for office since Election Day 2016. That is compared with 920 during the entire two-year 2016 election cycle.

Two states had elections in 2017.

Before

After

30%

N.J. elected more Democrats and fewer women.

20%

Va. elected more Democrats and more women.

10%

Percent of seats

held by women

65%

50%

60%

More Democrats

in office

More

Republicans

The open question is whether this energy will result in more women being elected in 2018. It did in Virginia’s 2017 election, where 15 more female legislators were elected to the state’s 100-member House of Delegates.

Two of the victors who defeated Republican male incumbents in Virginia will be the first Hispanic women to serve in the state’s House. A third will be the first openly transgender person elected and seated in a U.S. statehouse.

Del. Danica Roem

Del. Elizabeth Guzman

Del. Hala Ayala

Roem, who is transgender,

defeated socially conservative

Robert G. Marshall.

Guzman, an immigrant from

Peru, defeated Scott

Lingamfelter.

Hala Ayala beat Richard

Anderson, who ran unopposed

in 2015.

In New Jersey’s 2017 election, two female Republican state senators lost their seats to male Democrats.

Both states are still far from having equal representation for women. Given the way female representation looks across the country, even the tidal wave of women running probably will not be enough to get one woman into office for every man.

No state is even close to equal representation

Overall, about a quarter of elected positions in the United States are held by women. There are 1,977 women in power across governorships, congressional seats, and state legislative seats — which means 2,006 more have to win for women to reach equal representation.

Their numbers are highest in states that vote Democratic. In some right-leaning states, women’s share of political leadership drops as low as 11 percent. This chart shows the proportion of Congresspeople, governors, and state legislators who are women, alongside the political parties of both male and female elected officials in the state. (See the full list below.)

Women make up 51 percent of


the population. If they were equally

represented, more than half of all positions at every level of government would be held by women.

50%

Vermont has never elected a woman to Congress, but 40 percent of its legislature are women.

40%

30%

20%

Delaware elected its first female member

of Congress in 2016.

10%

Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote.

Percent of seats

held by women

100%

75%

50%

75%

100%

More Democrats in office

More Republicans in office

* Nebraska’s legislature is nonpartisan. Its governor, three representatives to the U.S. House and one of its U.S. senators are all Republicans.

The gap is even greater in Congress; 21 states have never sent a woman to the Senate. Five states have never elected a woman to the House. Overall, only 84 of the 432 House members are women (three seats are vacant). Twenty-two of the 100 Senators are women — and that is a record number.

U.S. House

U.S. Senate

Percentage of women in state's delegation

One woman

Two women

7%

25%

50%

100%

Previously represented by a woman

Previously represented by a woman

Never represented by a woman

Never represented by a woman

Sen. Tina Smith

Rep. Karen Handel

The former lieutenant governor of Minnesota was nominated to replace fellow Democrat Al Franken, who resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations.

In June, Handel became the first Republican woman elected to Congress from Georgia when she beat a male Democrat in the special election to replace Tom Price.

[The sorry state of female representation in Congress just got slightly better thanks to Tina Smith]

At the state executive level, representation is not much better. Twenty-two states have never had a female governor. Three of the six sitting female governors were appointed to the top seat and not elected. Every state has elected women to its legislature. On average, one in every four state legislators is female.

Governor

Women in state legislatures

Never held by a woman

Previously held by a woman

11%

25%

40%

Woman

Gov. Kim Reynolds

State Sen. Manka Dhingra

The newest female governor is Reynolds, a Republican who was appointed to the governorship after Terry Branstad was named Trump’s ambassador to China.

In November, Dhingra won a special election to flip control of Washington State’s senate to Democrats. The seat was vacant after Republican Andy Hill died of lung cancer.

Despite how far they have to go, women are well-positioned for 2018. Studies show women win elections at the same rates as men. The lack of women in office stems from a lack of women running — which is much less of an obstacle this year. With the country’s general swing to the left, female candidates, who overwhelmingly run as Democrats, have a better shot than usual.

How many women represent each state?

Click on a column to sort the list.

STATE
U.S. SENATE
U.S. HOUSE
GOVERNOR
LEGISLATURE
Nevada
1
2 of 4
-
25 of 63
Vermont
-
0 of 1
-
72 of 180
Arizona
-
2 of 8
-
36 of 90
Maine
1
1 of 2
-
63 of 186
Colorado
-
1 of 7
-
37 of 100
Illinois
1
3 of 18
-
62 of 177
Minnesota
2
1 of 8
-
65 of 201
Oregon
-
1 of 5
1
30 of 90
Rhode Island
-
0 of 2
1
35 of 113
New Mexico
-
1 of 3
1
34 of 112
New Hampshire
2
2 of 2
-
126 of 424
Maryland
-
0 of 8
-
60 of 188
Idaho
-
0 of 2
-
32 of 105
Hawaii
1
2 of 2
-
21 of 76
Alaska
1
0 of 1
-
18 of 60
New York
1
9 of 27
-
59 of 213
Kansas
-
1 of 4
-
47 of 165
Connecticut
-
2 of 5
-
52 of 187
New Jersey
-
1 of 12
-
36 of 120
Montana
-
0 of 1
-
43 of 150
California
2
17 of 53
-
27 of 120
Massachusetts
1
2 of 9
-
51 of 200
Georgia
-
1 of 14
-
63 of 236
Nebraska
1
0 of 3
-
13 of 49
Virginia
-
1 of 11
-
38 of 140
Michigan
1
2 of 13
-
37 of 148
North Carolina
-
2 of 13
-
43 of 170
Florida
-
7 of 27
-
40 of 160
United States
22
83 of 431
6
1,855 of 7,293
Missouri
1
2 of 8
-
45 of 197
Iowa
1
0 of 4
1
34 of 150
Wisconsin
1
1 of 8
-
30 of 132
Delaware
-
1 of 1
-
13 of 62
Ohio
-
3 of 16
-
29 of 132
South Dakota
-
1 of 1
-
21 of 105
Indiana
-
2 of 9
-
30 of 150
Utah
-
1 of 4
-
21 of 104
North Dakota
1
0 of 1
-
26 of 141
Texas
-
3 of 36
-
37 of 181
Arkansas
-
0 of 4
-
25 of 135
Pennsylvania
-
0 of 17
-
48 of 253
Alabama
-
2 of 7
1
21 of 140
Tennessee
-
2 of 9
-
21 of 132
Kentucky
-
0 of 6
-
23 of 138
Mississippi
-
0 of 4
-
26 of 174
Louisiana
-
0 of 6
-
22 of 144
South Carolina
-
0 of 7
-
25 of 170
Oklahoma
-
0 of 5
1
20 of 149
West Virginia
1
0 of 3
-
18 of 134
Wyoming
-
1 of 1
-
10 of 90

Are you a woman running for office?

Do you know a woman running for office in 2018?

It was an honor to meet Stacey Abrams who is running to be the first Black woman governor elected to office in the US - she is perhaps the most well-qualified candidate I have met from any part of the partisan spectrum - and I have met a lot of candidates!

 

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