HomeLearning CenterBlack Women Are Still Underrepresented in U.S. Politics. They Need Funding to Fairly Compete.

Black Women Are Still Underrepresented in U.S. Politics. They Need Funding to Fairly Compete.

Originally published by Cynthia Richie Terrell for Ms. Magazine

Recently, Frontline featured the World Economic Forum’s 17th annual Global Gender Gap report, which highlighted the significant progress needed to achieve global gender parity. The report analyzes 146 countries and finds that it will take 131 years for the world to close the gender gap at the current rate of progress.

More women are becoming parliamentarians globally, with an average 22.9 percent increase. Iceland and Costa Rica have over 33 percent of women in parliament. However, other countries like Japan and Canada fell behind, with less than one-third of their elected office being women. Despite some progress toward gender equality, there is still a notable lack of women in leadership roles.

By removing the barriers women face when running for office, we can achieve gender equality far sooner. When women are in elected office, issues that affect women garner more attention. Our Impact Analysis of NYC’s Woman Majority Council brief finds that legislation regarding childcare, reproductive health, pay equity, and more were introduced in a woman-majority city council. To learn more, check out this piece by our Research Associate, Steph Scaglia for Democracy SOS that summarizes the brief.

The Underrepresentation of Black Women in American Politics

Our amazing allies at Higher Heights and the Center for American Women in Politics (CAWP) recently released the latest version of their report on Black Women in American Politics, which seeks to identify and analyze the underrepresentation of Black women in elected office. A few of the key takeaways include:

A record number of Black women ran for the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and statewide elective executive offices – including [the] governor – in 2022, and a record number of Black women were nominees for the U.S. Senate, statewide executive offices, and governor. These candidacies translated into record-level officeholding at multiple levels, but no Black women serve in the U.S. Senate today and no Black woman has ever served as governor. 

Between 2022 and 2023, Black women’s state legislative representation remained nearly equal, though a record number of Black women currently lead state legislative chambers. 

Black women won big-city mayoral elections in Los Angeles, California, and North Las Vegas, Nevada in 2022, and a Black woman is poised to be elected mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in November 2023.

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