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 Legislative Leadership 2017

Listing of women in leadership positions in state senates and state houses and ranking of percentage of women holding leadership postions by state.


Women State Legislative Committee Chairs 2017

Numbers and percentage of women state legislative committee chairs by state.


Women in State Legislatures 1975-2016

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 (1975-2016)

Women Candidates and Winners in State Legislative Races - Historical Summary

Year-by-Year Candidates and Election Results (1996-2016)

Research

Gender and the Decision to Run for the State Legislature

by Susan J. Carroll and Kira Sanbonmatsu
Paper presented at the 2009 Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting

Carroll and Sanbonmatsu find important gender differences in the initial decision to seek state legislative office. They find that women are more likely than men to seek office because they were encouraged to run and that family and organizational support play a larger role in women’s candidacy decisions than in men’s. 

Conference Paper
Research
CAWP Scholar
Candidate Recruitment
Candidates and Campaigns
State Legislature

CAWP Recruitment Studies Datasets

The 2008 Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) Recruitment Studies are studies of United States state legislators' and mayors' pathways to office that were conducted by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. Data about state legislators and mayors of big cities were gathered through survey instruments that consisted primarily of questions concerning the decision to seek office, previous political experience, and personal background. The studies, which were conducted by mail, web, and phone, were designed to replicate a 1981 CAWP study about gender and pathways to elective office. All women serving in the legislatures of the 50 states were surveyed, along with a random sample of men state legislators; men were randomly selected and sampled in proportion to the number of women serving in each chamber and state. All women mayors of cities with a population of 30,000 and above serving in 2008 were surveyed, along with a random sample of men mayors. Demographic variables include age, education, race, and marital status.

File
Research
CAWP Scholar
Candidate Recruitment
State Legislature
Local

Gender Backlash in American Politics?

by Kira Sanbonmatsu
Politics and Gender (September 2006) 

The author introduces the idea of a backlash against women's representation, proposes several preliminary hypotheses about a backlash, and discusses ways of testing them.

Article
Research
CAWP Scholar
Candidates and Campaigns
Political Parties
State Legislature

“Committee Assignments: Discrimination or Choice?”

by Susan J. Carroll
Book chapter in Legislative Women: Getting Elected, Getting Ahead, edited by Beth Reingold, 2008

Book Chapter
Research
CAWP Scholar
Congress
State Legislature

Commentary on Emmy E. Werner's 1968 Article, "Women in the State Legislatures"

by Susan J. Carroll
Political Research Quarterly (March 2008)

This commentary examines the contributions of Emmy W. Werner's classic 1968 article to the study of women and politics and to knowledge about women in state legislatures, placing the article in the context of its time and highlighting its continuing relevance.
 

Article
Research
CAWP Scholar
State Legislature

Gender Pools and Puzzles: Charting a 'Women's Path' to the Legislature

by Kira Sanbonmatsu
Politics & Gender 2006, Volume 2 (September)

The “social eligibility pool” stands as one of the most common, and most powerful, explanations for women's underrepresentation in elective office. In this article, Sanbonmatsu revisits the eligibility pool account of women's representation and argues that it has significant shortcomings as a causal explanation. She proposes that scholars direct their attention to how changes occur in beliefs about the types of backgrounds that are thought to be desirable in politicians—the “informal qualifications” for public office. She suggests that scholars work to identify the conditions under which women can take a “women's path” to the legislature from female-dominated occupations.

Article
Research
CAWP Scholar
Candidate Recruitment
State Legislature

Gender and Elections: Shaping the Future of American Politics, 1st Edition

Eds. Susan J. Carroll, CAWP, Rutgers University and Richard L. Fox, Union College, New York
Cambridge University Press, 2005 First Edition, 240 pages 

Gender and Elections offers a systematic, lively, multi-faceted account of the role of gender in the electoral process through the 2004 elections. This volume strikes a balance between highlighting the most important developments for women as voters and candidates in the 2004 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, voter participation and turnout, voting choices, congressional elections, the participation of African American women, the support of political parties and women's organizations, candidate communications with voters, and state 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

Increasing Diversity or More of the Same? Term Limits and the Representation of Women, Minorities, and Minority Women in State Legislatures

by Susan J. Carroll and Krista Jenkins 
National Political Science Review 10 (2005): 71-84

This paper examines the question of whether term limits lead to greater diversity among legislators in terms of their gender, race, and ethnicity. Their findings from an analysis of electoral outcomes in states where term limits were in effect in 1998 and 2000 suggest that the answer to the question of whether term limits lead to more diverse legislatures is not straightforward.

Article
Research
CAWP Scholar
Women and Term Limits
Women of Color in Politics
State Legislature

Women in State Government: Historical Overview and Current Trends

by Susan J. Carroll 
Chapter in The Book of the States, edited by The Council of State Governments, 2004

Women have significantly increased their numbers among state government officials over the past several decades. However, despite a recent increase in the number of women governors, women’s progress, especially at the statewide elective and state legislative levels, has slowed. The future for women in state government would seem to depend, at least in part, upon the strength of efforts to actively recruit women for elective and appointive positions.

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

"Have Women State Legislators In the United States Become More Conservative?: A Comparison of State Legislators in 2001 and 1988"

by Susan J. Carroll, Atlantis 27:2(2003): 128-139. 

Carroll finds that: Women state legislators in the United States in 2001 are more liberal in their political ideology and policy attitudes than their male colleagues, just as they were in 1988. Nevertheless, a notable change is evident in the ideological predispositions of Republican Party women, especially in the lower houses of the legislatures. Republican women representatives in 2001 are more conservative and more like their male counterparts than they were in the late 1980s.

Article
CAWP Scholar
Research
State Legislature

Pages