Women in State Legislatures 2018

Number and Percentage of Women in State Legislatures, 1980-2018

Current State Legislature
1,876
(1,143D, 707R, 14NP, 7Ind, 5Prg)
25.4% 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
450
(261D, 173R, 14NP, 2Ind)
22.8% of 1,972 seats
State House/Assembly
1,426
(882D, 534R, 5Ind, 5Prg)
26.4% of 5,411 seats
Party Breakdown
Party Total Legislators State Senators State Representatives
Democrats 1,143 (61.0%) 261 (58.0%) 882 (61.9%)
Republicans 706 (37.7%) 173 (38.4%) 533 (37.4%)
Nonpartisans* 14 (0.7%) 14 (3.1%) 0 (0%)
Independents 7 (0.4%) 2 (0.4%) 5 (0.4%)
Progressives 5 (0.3%) 0 (0%) 5 (0.4%)
TOTAL 1,875 (100.1%) 450 (99.9%) 1,425 (100.1%)

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

Top 10 States

Arizona (40.0%) 
Vermont (39.4%)
Nevada (38.1%) 
Colorado (38.0%)
Washington (37.4%)
Illinois (35.0%)
Maine (33.9%)
Maryland (33.5%)
Oregon (33.3%)
Rhode Island (31.9%)

Bottom 10 States

Wyoming (11.1%)
Oklahoma (13.4%)
Louisiana (14.6%)
West Virginia (14.9%)
Mississippi (14.9%)
Alabama (15.0%)
South Carolina (15.9%)
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 1,875 current women state legislators:

  • 40 identify as Asian American/Pacific Islander
  • 270 identify as Black
  • 120 identify as Latina
  • 3 identify as Middle Eastern/North African
  • identifies as Multiracial Alone
  • 22 identify as Native American/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian 
  • 1,428 identify as white

State Legislative Leadership

Current Women Presidents or Presidents Pro Tem of Senates
14
(8D, 6R)

Toni Atkins (D-CA)
Anitere Flores (R-FL)
Michelle Kidani (D-HI)
Susan Wagle (R-KS)
Karen Spilka (D-MA)
Harriette Chandler (D-MA)
Tonya Schuitmaker (R-MI)
Michelle L. Fischbach (R-MN)
Sharon Carson (R-NH)
M. Teresa Ruiz (D-NJ)
Mary Kay Papen (D-NM)
Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-OR)
Karen Keiser (D-WA)
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)

Current Women in D.C. and Territorial Legislatures
33
(8D, 5R, 3Ind, 3NP, 11PNP, 3PPD)

Count includes women legislators in U.S. Territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands) and on the D.C. City Council. PNP stands for Partido Nuevo Progresista, or the New Progressive Party, and PPD stands for Partido Popular Democratico, or the Popular Democratic Party, both parties specific to Puerto Rico.

Territorial Senate
9
(1R, 1NP, 6PNP, 1PPD)
Territorial House/Assembly
11
(2R, 2NP, 5PNP, 2PPD)
Territorial Unicameral Legislatures
13
(8D, 2R, 3Ind)

(Washington D.C., Guam, Virgin Islands)

Location Total Women Total Legislature % Women Overall
American Samoa 3 (3NP) 37 8.1%
District of Columbia 4 (3D, 1I) 13 30.8%
Guam 5 (3D, 2R) 15 33.3%
Northern Mariana Islands 3 (3R) 29 10.3%
Puerto Rico 14 (11PNP, 3PPD)* 81 17.3%
Virgin Islands 4 (2D, 2I) 15 26.7%

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 2018
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 12 1D | 5R 6/20 4D | 9R 13/40 19/60 31.7
AZ 1 6D | 8R 14/30 13D | 9R 22/60 36/90 40.0
AR 40 3D | 5R 8/35 3D | 15R 18/100 26/135 19.3
CA 25 7D | 4R 11/40 17D | 3R 20/80 31/120 25.8
CO 4 8D | 2R | 1Ind 11/35 18D | 9R 27/65 38/100 38
CT 21 7D | 2R 9/36 21D | 21R 42/151 51/187 27.3
DE* 34 3D | 1R 4/21 7D | 2R 9/41 13/62 21.0
FL 26 6D | 7R 13/40 14D | 14R 28/120 41/160 25.6
GA 23 11D | 2R 13/56 32D | 18R 50/180 63/236 26.7
HI 16 7D | 0R 7/25 12D | 3R 15/51 22/76 28.9
ID 14 4D | 5R 9/35 7D | 17R 24/70 33/105 31.4
IL 6 13D | 2R 15/59 34D | 13R 47/118 62/177 35.0
IN 36 2D | 6R 8/50 11D | 11R 22/100 30/150 20.0
IA 31 5D | 2R 7/50 19D | 9R 28/100 35/150 23.3
KS 18 4D | 11R 15/40 15D | 17R 32/125 47/165 28.5
KY 42 2D | 2R 4/38 10D | 9R 19/100 23/138 16.7
LA 48 3D | 2R 5/39 7D | 10R 17/105 22/144 15.3
ME 7 6D | 4R 10/35 35D | 17R | 1Ind 53/151 63/186 33.9
MD 8 10D | 3R 13/47 39D | 11R 50/141 63/188 33.5
MA 29 10D | 0R 10/40 30D | 8R | 1Ind 39/160 49/200 24.5
MI 27 1D | 3R 4/38 17D | 16R 33/110 37/148 25.0
MN 11 10D | 6R 16/67 28D | 20R 48/134 64/201 31.8
MS* 46 4D | 5R 9/52 9D | 7R 16/122 25/174 14.4
MO 32 6D | 2R 8/34 16D | 21R 37/163 45/197 22.8
MT 20 11D | 2R 13/50 21D | 8R 29/100 42/150 28.0
NE 24 0D | 0R | 13Ind 13/49 0D | 0R unicameral 13/49 26.5
NV 3 6D | 1R | 1Ind 8/21 13D | 4R 17/42 25/63 39.7
NH 17 4D | 3R 7/24 77D | 38R 115/400 122/424 28.8
NJ 13 8D | 2R 10/40 21D | 6R 27/80 37/120 30.8
NM 15 5D | 2R 7/42 17D | 10R 27/70 34/112 30.4
NY 19 8D | 7R 15/63 42D | 3R 45/150 60/213 28.2
NC 28 5D | 8R 13/50 17D | 12R 29/120 42/170 24.7
ND 41 3D | 6R 9/47 7D | 10R 17/94 26/141 18.4
OH 33 3D | 3R 6/33 13D | 10R 23/99 29/132 22.0
OK 48 3D | 3R 6/48 5D | 8R 13/101 19/149 12.8
OR 9 6D | 2R 8/30 19D | 3R 22/60 30/90 33.3
PA 39 3D | 4R 7/50 21D | 21R 42/203 49/253 19.4
RI 10 12D | 1R 13/38 21D | 2R 23/75 36/113 31.9
SC* 43 2D | 2R 4/46 12D | 11R 23/124 27/170 15.9
SD* 34 0D | 5R 5/35 3D | 14R 17/70 22/105 21.0
TN* 43 2D | 3R 5/33 7D | 9R 16/99 21/132 15.9
TX 36 1D | 6R 7/31 21D | 8R 29/150 36/181 19.9
UT 37 3D | 2R 5/29 9D | 7R 16/75 21/104 20.2
VT 2 9D | 2R 11/30 39D | 13R | 8Ind 60/150 71/180 39.4
VA 22 7D | 3R 10/40 23D | 5R 28/100 38/140 27.1
WA 5 10D | 9R 19/49 25D | 11R 36/98 55/147 37.4
WV* 46 0D | 4R 4/34 2D | 14R 16/100 20/134 14.9
WI 30 7D | 2R 9/33 14D | 9R 23/99 32/132 24.2
WY 50 1D | 2R 3/30 3D | 4R 7/60 10/90 11.1
Totals 261D | 173R | 16Ind 450/1,972 883D | 532R | 10Ind 1,425/5,411 1,875/7,383 25.4

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