START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
913,448 people care about Women's Rights

Too Few Women Serve in State Legislatures – Think About Running

Too Few Women Serve in State Legislatures – Think About Running

 

Written by Laurie Kretchmar

Not one state – not California, not New York – has women serving in half the seats in its state legislature. California’s is 28 percent, while New York’s is only 21 percent. South Carolina trails the nation at 9 percent.

Women are best represented in Colorado where they hold 41 percent of seats. Does the presence of women make a difference? Research says it does. Women tend to bring different agendas, content and processes. As The White House Project memorably says, “Add women; change everything.”

I asked Karen Middleton, president of Emerge America, a Democratic training organization, about serving as a state legislator in Colorado.

“I saw strong bipartisan support for some key issues affecting women and children,” Middleton said. “Laws around veterans’ families, domestic violence, cancer screening — we did great work in these areas. Women on both sides of the aisle led the way on important legislation, such as re-purposing coal plants with natural gas turbines–a new law that helped the environment and kept energy-related jobs in the state.”

Patricia Lindner, a Republican who served in the Illinois legislature, said, “Women are more willing to cut the partisan bickering and work with all sides to accomplish goals.”

To inspire more women to consider politics, the nonpartisan 2012 Project, where I work as media director, is working with dozens of allies including The White House Project, Emerge America and Rachel’s Network. The goal is to educate people about the low numbers of women in office today and ask accomplished women to consider running for state legislatures and Congress.

As USA Today reports, this year is a potentially record year for electing women – if women run. There are open seats in state legislatures and Congress due to redistricting in every state, 13 states with term limits and an expected presidential election year turnout.

Women and newcomers do best running for open seats. Of the 24 new women elected to Congress in 1992, known as the Year of the Woman, 22 won open seats. There is vast room for improvement. In 20 states today, zero women serve in congressional delegations.

How many women represent your state? Click on the map at Rutgers’ Center for American Women and Politics.

WATCH this PSA video with Aisha Tyler:

 

—————–

Laurie Kretchmar is media and social media director for The 2012 Project, a national, nonpartisan campaign of Rutgers’ Center for American Women and Politics to inspire record numbers of women to run for state legislature and Congress in 2012.

 

Related Stories:

Women and Leadership in Politics and Business

10 “Must Haves” for the Woman Who Would Be President

For Less Weiner, Elect More Women

 

Read more: , , ,

Photo of the Colorado State Capitol from yosoynuts via flickr

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

22 comments

+ add your own
7:32PM PST on Feb 2, 2012

I agree. but how many women are given the chance? Sadly desire and being able to do the job are placed on the back burner .. it's all about the money and the damn political machine .. sad stuff!

9:57PM PST on Feb 1, 2012

Thank you.

7:37PM PST on Feb 1, 2012

Too many glass ceilings to punch through. Too many women lose opportunities long before they even qualify through college. I take it a woman would need at least a degree to work in the legislature, preferably in law? Am I right?

5:21PM PST on Feb 1, 2012

A fine sentiment; however, with the political sphere being dominated and paid for by big money interests, the deck is stacked against many who would do a far better job of representing all people and not just a wealthy few.

2:41PM PST on Feb 1, 2012

Do the other trends, like cuts to preschool and child care funding, and the trend of mega-money contribute significantly to this result? In CA's last general election, two high profile women running for office were independently wealthy and contributed a disproportionate amount of their campaign funds from their personal funds. Is this a result the parties' campaign chairs want to perpetuate?

2:34PM PST on Feb 1, 2012

pick people who will do a good job not based on gender..

1:21PM PST on Feb 1, 2012

Thanks for the article.

10:55AM PST on Feb 1, 2012

We really could use more maternal instinct helping to guard our country from abuse by its play boys.

10:04AM PST on Feb 1, 2012

too few even semi-normal people running for office all we have is a bunch of extremist on both sides.

10:02AM PST on Feb 1, 2012

There are way too few progressives running for office too.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

The first rule of power is to stay in power. Systematic degradation of cilvil rights is a tool to maintain…

GOD bless her, thank God she came to humanity for help

In one word YES. Humans should learn to coexist. Just because we are at the top of the food chain does…

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free

more from causes

Animal Welfare

Causes Canada

Causes UK

Children

Civil Rights

Education

Endangered Wildlife

Environment & Wildlife

Global Development

Global Warming

Health Policy

Human Rights

LGBT rights

Politics

Real Food

Trailblazers For Good

Women's Rights




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.