HomeLearning CenterBoosting Women’s Representation in Politics:  Women Lawmakers by the Numbers

Boosting Women’s Representation in Politics:  Women Lawmakers by the Numbers

Originally published by Hope Kahn for National Press Foundation

Women hold an average of 33% of legislative seats – the highest percentage in the nation’s history, according to Martha Saenz, the Associate Director of the Quad Caucus and Women’s Legislative Network, an affiliate of the National Conference of State Legislatures. She spoke to the National Press Foundation’s Covering Women in Politics fellows about the breakdown of women legislators.

“The total number of women legislative seats is 2,460,” said Saenz – out of an overall number of 7,386. “It’s give or take, at any given day, there’s sometimes a seat will fall off, somebody will retire, somebody will leave office.”

Nevada has the highest percentage of women legislators with 60%.

“It hit that milestone in 2018… but they only convene every other year. So, they convene in odd years.”

But the number of women in political seats doesn’t automatically translate into power or prestige.

“One of the challenges, of course, is when we’re looking at women serving, are they serving in states where there’s a higher salary, where maybe they don’t have to go to the capital every year, are they serving in areas where maybe they live closer to the capital, right? So do we see more concentrated representation in urban areas or closer to the capital itself? Because it would be rather hard for someone who’s managing, trying to balance family and everything else with going to a state capital if it’s in a rural area.”

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