Women in State Legislatures 2017

Number and Percentage of Women in State Legislatures, 1980-2017

Current State Legislature
1,853
(1,123D, 705R, 14NP, 6Ind, 5Prg)
25.1% of 7,383 seats

Since 1971, the number of women serving in state legislatures has more than quintupled.

NP = non-partisan, Ind = Independent, Prg = Progressive

State-by-State Summary Data on Current Women State Legislators

State Senate
448
(257D, 176R, 14NP, 1Ind)
22.7% of 1,972 seats
State House/Assembly
1,405
(866D, 529R, 5Ind, 5Prg)
26% of 5,411 seats
Party Breakdown
Party Total Legislators State Senators State Representatives
Democrats 1,123 (60.6%) 257 (57.4%) 866 (61.6%)
Republicans 705 (38.3%) 176 (39.3%) 529 (37.7%)
Nonpartisans* 14 (0.8%) 14 (3.1%) 0 (0%)
Independents 6 (0.3%) 1 (0.2%) 5 (0.4%)
Progressives 5 (0.3%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
TOTAL 1,853 (100.1%) 448 (100.0%) 1,405 (100.2%)

*In Nebraska, where the legislature is unicameral, legislators are elected on a nonpartisan basis.

Top 10 States

Arizona (40.0%) 
Vermont (40.0%)
Nevada (39.7%) 
Washington (37.4%)
Colorado (37.0%)
Illinois (35.0%)
Maine (33.9%)
Oregon (33.3%)
Minnesota (32.3%)
Maryland (31.9%)

Bottom 10 States

Wyoming (11.1%)
Oklahoma (13.4%)
West Virginia (13.4%)
South Carolina (14.1%)
Mississippi (14.9%)
Alabama (15.0%)
Louisiana (15.3%)
Tennessee (15.9%)
Kentucky (16.7%)
North Dakota (18.4%)

State Legislators by Race and Ethnicity

*Women who self-identify as more than one race/ethnicity are included on CAWP pages for each group with which they identify. We strongly caution against adding totals from each racial/ethnic group should, as it will double count officeholders. 

 

Of the 1,853 current women state legislators:

  • 36 identify as Asian American/Pacific Islander
  • 269 identify as Black
  • 114 identify as Latina
  • 2 identify as Middle Eastern/North African
  • identifies as Multiracial Alone
  • 22 identify as Native American/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian 
  • 1,416 identify as white

State Legislative Leadership

Current Women Presidents or Presidents Pro Tem of Senates
11
(4D, 7R)

Debbie Lesko (R-AZ)
Anitere Flores (R-FL)
Michelle Kidani (D-HI)
Susan Wagle (R-KS)
Tonya Schuitmaker (R-MI)
Michelle L. Fischbach (R-MN)
Sharon Carson (R-NH)
Nia Gill (D-NJ)
Mary Kay Papen (D-NM)
Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-OR)
Donna J. Boley (R-WV)

Current Women Speakers of State Houses
6
(4D, 2R)

Crisanta Duran (D-CO)
Linda L. Upmeyer (R-IA)
Sara Gideon (D-ME)
Tina Kotek (D-OR)
Beth Harwell (R-TN)
Mitzi Johnson (D-VT)

State Legislative Firsts

  • 1894: The first three women elected to a state legislature in the country were Clara Cressingham, Carrie C. Holly, and Frances Klock, all in the Colorado House of Representatives.
  • 1896: Martha Hughes Cannon (D-UT) became the first woman elected state senator in the country.
  • 1924: Cora Belle Reynolds Anderson (R-MI) became the first woman of color elected to a state legislature.
  • 1933: Minnie Davenport Craig (R-ND) became the first woman to serve as speaker of a state house.
  • 1974: Elaine Noble (D-MA) became the first openly LGBT candidate elected to a state legislature.
  • 1983: Vesta Roy (R-NH) became the first woman to serve as president of a state senate.
  • 2007: Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) became the first woman of color to serve as president of a state senate.
  • 2008: Karen Bass (D-CA) became the first woman of color to serve as speaker of a state house.
  • 2013:Tina Kotek (D-OR) became the country's first openly lesbian state House speaker. 
  • 2017: Twenty-five years after Althea Garrison's election and non-consensual outing, Danica Roem (D-VA) became the first openly transgender person to be elected and to serve in a state legislature in the United States. 
  • 2017: Crisanta Duran (D) became speaker of the Colorado General Assembly, the first Latina to lead either house of a state legislature.

For other important state legislative firsts, visit the Milestones for Women in American Politics page.

Women in State Legislatures 2017
State State Rank Senate Total Women/Total Senate House Total Women/Total House Total Women/Total Legis. %Women Overall
AL 45 3D | 0R | 1Ind 4/35 12D | 5R 17/105 21/140 15.0
AK 15 1D | 5R 6/20 3D | 9R 12/40 18/60 30.0
AZ* 1 6D | 8R 14/30 13D | 9R 22/60 36/90 40.0
AR 40 3D | 4R 7/35 3D | 15R 18/100 25/135 18.5
CA 30 6D | 3R 9/40 15D | 3R 18/80 27/120 22.5
CO 4 9D | 2R 11/35 18D | 8R 26/65 37/100 37.0
CT 19 7D | 2R 9/36 21D | 22R 43/151 52/187 27.8
DE 33 3D | 1R 4/21 7D | 2R 9/41 13/62 21.0
FL* 26 5D | 8R 13/40 14D | 13R 27/120 40/160 25.0
GA 22 11D | 2R 13/56 32D | 19R 51/180 64/236 27.1
HI 21 7D | 0R 7/25 11D | 3R 14/51 21/76 27.6
ID 13 4D | 5R 9/35 7D | 17R 24/70 33/105 31.4
IL 6 13D | 4R 17/59 33D | 12R 45/118 62/177 35.0
IN* 36 2D | 6R 8/50 11D | 11R 22/100 30/150 20.0
IA* 28 5D | 1R 6/50 19D | 9R 28/100 34/150 22.7
KS 18 4D | 11R 15/40 15D | 17R 32/125 47/165 28.5
KY 42 2D | 2R 4/38 9D | 10R 19/100 23/138 16.7
LA 44 3D | 2R 5/39 8D | 9R 17/105 22/144 15.3
ME 7 6D | 4R 10/35 35D | 17R | 1Ind 53/151 63/186 33.9
MD 10 9D | 2R 11/47 38D | 11R 49/141 60/188 31.9
MA 24 12D | 0R 12/40 30D | 8R | 1Ind 39/160 51/200 25.5
MI* 26 1D | 3R 4/38 17D | 16R 33/110 37/148 25.0
MN 9 9D | 7R 16/67 28D | 21R 49/134 65/201 32.3
MS 46 4D | 5R 9/52 10D | 7R 17/122 26/174 14.9
MO 31 5D | 2R 7/34 17D | 20R 37/163 44/197 22.3
MT 17 12D | 2R 14/50 21D | 8R 29/100 43/150 28.7
NE 23 0D | 0R | 13Ind 13/49 0D | 0R - - unicameral - - 13/49 26.5
NV 3 5D | 2R | 1Ind 8/21 13D | 4R 17/42 25/63 39.7
NH 16 4D | 3R 7/24 80D | 39R 119/400 126/424 29.7
NJ 12 8D | 4R 12/40 18D | 7R 25/80 37/120 30.8
NM 14 5D | 2R 7/42 17D | 10R 27/70 34/112 30.4
NY 20 7D | 7R 14/63 42D | 3R 45/150 59/213 27.7
NC 25 6D | 7R 13/50 17D | 13R 30/120 43/170 25.3
ND 41 3D | 6R 9/47 7D | 10R 17/94 26/141 18.4
OH 32 3D | 3R 6/33 13D | 10R 23/99 29/132 22.0
OK* 48 2D | 4R 6/48 6D | 8R 14/101 20/149 13.4
OR 8 6D | 2R 8/30 19D | 3R 22/60 30/90 33.3
PA 39 3D | 4R 7/50 19D | 21R 40/203 47/253 18.6
RI 11 11D | 1R 12/38 21D | 2R 23/75 35/113 31.0
SC 47 2D | 2R 4/46 11D | 9R 20/124 24/170 14.1
SD* 36 0D | 5R 5/35 3D | 13R 16/70 21/105 20.0
TN 43 2D | 3R 5/33 7D | 9R 16/99 21/132 15.9
TX 34 2D | 6R 8/31 21D | 8R 29/150 37/181 20.4
UT 35 3D | 3R 6/29 9D | 6R 15/75 21/104 20.2
VT* 1 9D | 2R 11/30 40D | 13R | 8Ind 61/150 72/180 40.0
VA 38 7D | 3R 10/40 13D | 4R 17/100 27/140 19.3
WA 4 10D | 9R 19/49 25D | 11R 36/98 55/147 37.4
WV 48 0D | 3R 3/34 2D | 13R 15/100 18/134 13.4
WI* 28 6D | 2R 8/33 13D | 9R 22/99 30/132 22.7
WY 50 1D | 2R 3/30 3D | 4R 7/60 10/90 11.1
Totals 257D | 176R | 15Ind 448/1,972 865D | 529R | 11Ind 1,405/5,411 1,853/7,383 25.1

* States share the same rank if their proportions of women legislators are exactly equal or round off to be equal.