State Legislatures

Facts

Women in State Legislatures 2017

State by state listing and ranking of numbers and percentages of women in state legislative office.


Women in State Legislatures 1975-2014

State by state listing of numbers and percentages of women elected to state legislatures for 1975 through 2014.


Fact Sheet Archive on Women in State Legislatures by Year (1975-2015)

Women Candidates and Winners in State Legislative Races - Historical Summary

Year-by-Year Candidates and Election Results(1996-2015)

Research

Candidates Matter: Gender Differences in Election 2016

by Kelly Dittmar, Ph.D.

We looked at gender and party differences in candidate numbers and success in election 2016 to better understand why women made so little progress in representation. Our data demonstrates, consistent with research to date, that there appears to be no consistent gender disparity in candidate win rates; the real gender disparities exist in the proportions of women and men running at each phase of the electoral process. These conclusions are consistent across party, though the dearth of women candidates is particularly acute in the Republican party. 

Fact Sheet
Research
CAWP Scholar
A Closer Look
Candidate Recruitment
Candidates and Campaigns
Political Parties
Women of Color in Politics
Congress
Statewide Executive
State Legislature

Women in State Legislatures 2017

by Kelly Dittmar, Ph.D.

In 2017, 1832 women (1107D, 703R, 4I, 4Prg, 1WFP, 13NP) hold seats in state legislatures, comprising 24.8% of the 7383 members; 442 women (253D, 175R, 1I, 13NP) (22.4%) serve in state senates and 1390 women (854D, 528R, 3I, 4Prg, 1WFP) (25.7%) serve in state houses.

Fact Sheet
Research
CAWP Scholar
A Closer Look
Candidates and Campaigns
Women of Color in Politics
State Legislature

Women’s Decisions to Run for Office: A Relationally Embedded Model

by Kira Sanbonmatsu and Susan J. Carroll
Book chapter in The Political Psychology of Women in U.S. Politics, edited by Angela L. Bos and Monica C. Schneider (New York: Routledge, 2016)

This chapter presents an alternative approach to the standard ambition model of candidacy. The authors analyze state legislators’ decisions to seek elective office using the 2008 and 1981 CAWP Recruitment Studies. The analysis reveals that a traditional model of ambition, in which candidacy is self-initiated, offers a less adequate account of how women reach office than of how men do so. The authors argue for an alternative model of candidacy, one that seems to apply more often to women than to men, that recognizes running for office as an embedded decision.

Book Chapter
Research
CAWP Scholar
Candidate Recruitment
Candidates and Campaigns
State Legislature

#WomenRun2016: State Legislative Outlook

by Kelly Dittmar, Ph.D.

In this post, we take a first look at women running for state legislative seats in 2016. The detail and predictability of our data is limited at this level due to the high number of candidates and races, but our outlook shows that we enter Election Day with a record-level number of female state legislative nominees, with enough poised to win that we expect an increase in women’s state legislative representation in 2017.

Fact Sheet
Research
CAWP Scholar
A Closer Look
Candidates and Campaigns
State Legislature

Women in State Government: Still Too Few

by Susan J. Carroll
in The Book of the States, Vol. 48 edited by The Council of State Governments (Lexington, KY: The Council of State Governments, 2016).

In recent years the movement of women into state-level offices has slowed after several decades of gains. Efforts to actively recruit women for elective and appointive positions will be critical in determining what the future holds for women in state government.

Article
Research
CAWP Scholar
Candidate Recruitment
Impact of Women Public Officials
Women Political Appointees
Statewide Executive
State Legislature

Voices. Votes. Leadership. The Status of Black Women in American Politics 2015

By the Center for American Women and Politics for Higher Heights Leadership Fund, 2015
Authored by Kelly Dittmar, Ph.D, Assistant Research Professor, Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University

This comprehensive report provides a historical outline of Black women’s struggle for political representation. It discusses the current landscape of political leadership for Black women across the country and across levels of office, their growing political influence, and the outlook for Black women's participation in the 2016 elections. It demonstrates the need for greater engagement, recruitment, and inclusion of Black women in politics and government.

Report
Research
Women of Color in Politics
Congress
Statewide Executive
State Legislature
Local

The Status of Black Women in American Politics 2014

By the Center for American Women and Politics for Higher Heights Leadership Fund, 2014
Authored by Kelly Dittmar, Ph.D, Assistant Research Professor, Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University

This comprehensive report provides a historical outline of black women’s struggle for political representation and discusses the current landscape of political leadership for black women across the country as well as their growing political influence. It demonstrates the need for greater engagement, recruitment, and inclusion of black women in politics and government.

Report
Research
Women of Color in Politics
Congress
Statewide Executive
State Legislature
Local

Women’s Election to Office in the Fifty States: Opportunities and Challenges

by Kira Sanbonmatsu
Book chapter in Gender and Elections: Shaping the Future of American Politics,
Eds. Susan J. Carroll, CAWP, Rutgers University and Richard L. Fox, Union College, New York
Cambridge University Press, 2013 Third Edition, pp. 265-287.

Discussion of the barriers and opportunities women face in seeking state legislative and statewide executive office and the differences across states in women's officeholding. Party is a key factor in understanding women's candidacies and women's representation. 

Book Chapter
Research
CAWP Scholar
Candidate Recruitment
Candidates and Campaigns
Political Parties
Statewide Executive
State Legislature

Gender and Elections: Shaping the Future of American Politics, 3rd Edition

Eds. Susan J. Carroll, CAWP, Rutgers University and Richard L. Fox, Union College, New York
Cambridge University Press, 2013 Third Edition, 287 pages 

The third edition of Gender and Elections highlights the most important developments for women as voters and candidates in the 2012 elections and providing a more long-term, in-depth analysis of the ways that gender has helped shape the contours and outcomes of electoral politics in the United States. Individual chapters demonstrate the importance of gender in understanding and interpreting presidential elections, presidential and vice-presidential candidacies, voter participation and turnout, voting choices, congressional elections, the political involvement of Latinas, the participation of African American women, the support of political parties and women's organizations, candidate communications with voters, and state elections. Earlier editions (First Edition 2006, Second Edition 2010) provide similar analysis for the 2004 and 2008 elections.

Book
Research
CAWP Scholar
Candidates and Campaigns
Political Parties
Women Voters and the Gender Gap
Women of Color in Politics
Federal Executive
Congress
Statewide Executive
State Legislature

More Women Can Run: Gender and Pathways to the State Legislatures

by Susan Carroll and Kira Sanbonmatsu
Oxford University Press, September 2013, 176 pages

Analyzing nationwide surveys of state legislators conducted by CAWP, More Women Can Run challenges assumptions of a single model of candidate emergence with a relationally embedded model of candidacy. It reorients research on women's election to office and offers strategies for political practitioners concerned about women's political equality. Video of a book talk given by Carroll and Sanbonmatsu available here

Book
Research
CAWP Scholar
Candidate Recruitment
Candidates and Campaigns
State Legislature

Pages