The State Of Women's Representation On The Eve Of The 2016 Election
WOMEN’S REPRESENTATION IN 2016: A REVIEW
Let’s reflect on where women’s representation is at in the lead up to the 2016 elections.
Measuring women’s representation: Representation 2020’s Gender Parity Index
Only five states were more than three-fifths the way to parity in the lead up to the 2016 election
The Gender Parity Index shows that we are less than halfway to gender parity
New Hampshire leads the nation
Mississippi ranks last
Regional Trends: The Northeast and West excel, while the South lags behind
The West and the Northeast outperform the Midwest and the South in gender parity in elected office. Eight of the 10 states with the highest Gender Parity Scores in July 2016 were in the Northeast or West (Arizona, California, Hawaii Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Washington). By contrast, seven of the 10 states with the lowest Gender Parity Score are in the South (Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Virginia).
The disparity between the South and other regions has widened in the past few decades. In 1993, two southern states (Maryland and Texas) ranked in the top 10 states for gender parity, while six (Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia) ranked in the bottom 10.
No state legislative chambers are at parity
Fewer women in state legislatures
The proportion of women state legislators actually declined slightly as a result of the 2014 election. Currently, 1,791 (24.3%) state legislators are women. If we take a broader view, we can see that the progress toward gender parity in state legislatures is slowing down from the 1970s, which is worrying. Without new initiatives, progress may stall completely.
*For more information and a state-by-state breakdown of the gender parity index, click here