Women in Congress Could Hit 20% this Fall

With a record number of women now running for seats in both the U.S. House and Senate, The 2012 Project, a national, nonpartisan campaign of the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University, launched 20 Percent in 2012 a new campaign with the goal of seeing 20% of our elected representatives in Congress women.

To get to 20% (a total 107 women in the House and Senate) would require a 3 percentage point jump from the current 17 percent of women elected to Congress. That would mean the largest rate of growth in electoral parity since 1992, a year known widely as the Year of the Woman. Its an ambitious goal, said CAWP director Debbie Walsh, but its within reach so were putting out the word that its possible. The task is converting a record number of candidates into a record number of winners.”

With women still on the ballot in four states that have not yet held congressional primaries, there are already 160 women nominees for House seats. The previous record was 141 women set in 2004. We need to accelerate the pace of progress, said Mary Hughes, founder and director of The 2012 Project. Its time. Women are ready.

To reach 20 percent women in the House, or 87 women, The 2012 Project is counting on:

56 women incumbents certain to win;
3 women incumbents likely to win;
10 new women candidates almost certain to win;
and 27 incumbent women and new candidates running in competitive seats, of whom two-thirds would need to win.

The 2012 elections follow post-census redistricting when every congressional and state legislative district is redrawn and open seats are created. Women and other newcomers have more success winning open seats, and the increased voter turnout in presidential years further boosts women candidates. This year, a record 297 women filed to run for US House seats, shattering the previous record of 262 women set in 2010.

Gender parity in Congress certainly doesn’t mean we’ll suddenly see an end to the ridiculous and misogynistic focus of the right. After all, for every Nancy Pelosi there’s a Virginia Foxx. But it can’t make things any worse, can it?

Related Stories:

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In 2012, Strong Women Candidates May Be Dems Secret Women

Independent Women Vote For Obama

Photo from (Credit: http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-illustration-14232234-politician-election-button.php)


reece C.
reece C5 years ago

I think you should shoot for a higher goal, and while your at it, I want you as a majority on the supreme court, and please take the presidency. We need women in government for the simple reason that you think better than most men. You're a hell of a lot more patient than we are, and with the exception of Jan Brewer, Michelle Bachman, and Ann Romney, you think more independently, and come to conclusions analytically.
I worked in a major multi-national corporation for over 30 years, and my experiences with female managers and executives gave me the distinct impression that they use their heads, and are less apt to make decisions that please the boys rather than whats good for the organization. You are better team players.

Judith M.
Judith M5 years ago

I am surprised they are not reaching for a higher goal than 20%?

John B.
John B5 years ago

I sure hope the 20% goal can be reached but I would be a lot happier if the representation was closer to 40%-50%. Thanks Jessica for the info.

Wesley Struebing
Wesley S5 years ago

Gene, while I completely agree with you (about the disappointment), it woulds STILL be a major step forward.

Is it enough? 3 words - no (and) HECK no!

Ian Fletcher
Ian Fletcher5 years ago

The ratio ought to be 80-20% in favor of women. Not the other way round.
If we want peaceloving, efficient, low-cost governments, women must take over, everywhere please!

Diana Bair
Diana Bair5 years ago

We need more strong democrat women in all phases of government 20% is good we need more a LOT more. all these men, republician/teaparty, men has done is just not working, We need to get out and.......VOTE,......BE INFORMED, Vote Obama back in, and as many women as possible, give our president ......FOUR MORE YEARS, And people he can WORK .......with!!!!!!. Diana.

Ron B.
Ron B5 years ago

Me too, James. Only 31% to go---minus the likes of those two and their ilk.

James Maynard
James Maynard5 years ago

I'll be happier when the percentage more closely
resembles the population. Isn't it 51% women?

Of course it doesn't help if the women are like
Michelle Backman or Christine O'Donnell.

Gene Jacobson
Gene J5 years ago

I'd be disappointed in just 20%. And you need to assume some of those will be Stepford wife Republicans, so they don't count. In my view. They're Ann Coulter's running for office doing more harm than good. Chris is right, 50% would be fair, right and reasonable. Men have been running everything, including Congress forever, and look where we've gotten with that? One holy mess is what. A climate that's getting ready to annihilate us if we don't do it first ourselves. People the world over starving to death, or victims of genocide, or neglect. Nation's going broke faster than the big banks in 2008 and no plans to fix anything, in fact the opposite, the men want to make things even worse. Vote them all out would make me happy, my gender can't think beyond its, umm, pinkie finger, let alone envision what the world will need in 10, 20, 50 years and take actions now to ensure those things are there. My gender is a bunch of greedy fools who'd sell their own children out to make a buck. Wait, they ARE doing that already. Yeah, 20% is NOT nearly enough. Wipe the slate clean and start over with people who have proven they have functioning hearts and souls. Most men don't seem to. Or we wouldn't be in the mess we are, everything from dog fighting to human fighting. All men's doing because we lack the ability to compromise or even grasp the concept. Time for another gender to have a go. Ladies, it is all yours. Blessed be.

Nadine H.
Nadine H5 years ago

Just 20%????