Women in State Legislatures 2019

Number and Percentage of Women in State Legislatures, 1980-2019

Current State Legislature
2,132
(1,443D, 667R, 14NP, 4Ind, 4Prg)
28.9% 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
508
(330D, 164R, 14NP)
25.8% of 1,972 seats
State House/Assembly
1,624
(1,113D, 503R, 4Ind, 4Prg)
30% of 5,411 seats
Party Breakdown
Party Total Legislators State Senators State Representatives
Democrats 1,443 (67.7%) 330 (65.0%) 1,113 (68.5%)
Republicans 667 (31.3%) 164 (32.3%) 503 (31.0%)
Nonpartisans* 14 (0.7%) 14 (2.8%) 0 (0%)
Independents 4 (0.2%) 0 (0%) 4 (0.2%)
Progressives 4 (0.2%) 0 (0%) 4 (0.2%)
TOTAL 2,132 (100.0%) 508 (100.0%) 1,624 (99.9%)

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

Top 10 States

Nevada (52.4%)
Colorado (47.0%)
Oregon (42.2%)
Washington (41.5%)
Vermont (40.0%)
Arizona (38.9%)
Alaska (38.3%)
Maryland (38.3%)
Maine (37.6%)
Rhode Island (37.2%)

Bottom 10 States

West Viginia (13.4%)
Mississippi (13.8%)
Tennessee (15.2%)
Louisiana (15.3%)
Wyoming (15.6%)
Alabama (16.4%)
South Carolina (16.5%)
Oklahoma (21.5%)
North Dakota (22.0%)
South Dakota (22.9%)

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. This figure does not include two legislators whose race/ethnicity we could not confirm.

 

Of the 2,132 current women state legislators:

  • 55 identify as Asian American/Pacific Islander
  • 315 identify as Black
  • 135 identify as Latina
  • 9 identify as Middle Eastern/North African
  • identifies as Multiracial Alone
  • 30 identify as Native American/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian 
  • 1,611 identify as white

 

State Legislative Leadership

Current Women Presidents or Presidents Pro Tem of Senates
17
(12D, 5R)

Cathy Giessel (R-AK)
Karen Fann (R-AZ)
Toni Atkins(D-CA)
Lois Court (D-CO)
Michelle Kidani (D-HI)
Susan Wagle (R-KS)
Karen Spilka (D-MA)
Katherine Klausmeier (D-MD)
Mary Kiffmeyer (R-MN)
Donna Soucy (D-NH)
Martha Fuller Clark (D-NH)
M. Teresa Ruiz (D-NJ)
Mary Kay Papen (D-NM)
Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-NY)
Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-OR)
Karen Keiser (D-WA)
Donna J. Boley (R-WV)

Current Women Speakers of State Houses
7
(6D, 1R)

KC Becker (D-CO)
Linda L. Upmeyer (R-IA)
Adrienne Jones (D-MD)
Sara Gideon (D-ME)
Melissa Hortman (D-MN)
Tina Kotek (D-OR)
Mitzi Johnson (D-VT)

Current Women in D.C. and Territorial Legislatures
38
(13D, 5R, 4Ind, 2NP, 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
(1R, 2Ind, 1NP, 5PNP, 2PPD)
Territorial Unicameral Legislatures
18
(13D, 3R, 2Ind)

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

Location Total Women Total Legislature % Women Overall
American Samoa 2 (2NP) 39 5.1%
District of Columbia 4 (3D, 1I) 13 30.8%
Guam 10 (7D, 3R) 15 66.7%
Northern Mariana Islands 4 (2I, 2R) 29 13.8%
Puerto Rico 14 (11PNP, 3PPD)* 81 17.3%
Virgin Islands 4 (3D, 1I) 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.
  • 2019: Nevada became the first state to have women hold a majority of state legislative seats (32 of 63, or 50.8%).

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

Women in State Legislatures 2019
State State Rank Senate Total Women/Total Senate House Total Women/Total House Total Women/Total Legis. %Women Overall
AL 45 4D | 0R 4/35 11D | 8R 19/105 23/140 16.4
AK 7 1D | 5R 6/20 6D | 11R 17/40 23/60 38.3
AZ 6 7D | 6R 13/30 14D | 8R 22/60 35/90 38.9
AR 36 3D | 4R 7/35 9D | 17R 26/100 33/135 24.4
AS - 0D | 0R | 1Ind 1/18 0D | 0R | 1Ind 1/21 2/39 5.1
CA* 18 11D | 3R 14/40 21D | 3R 24/80 38/120 31.7
CO 2 12D | 1R 13/35 26D | 7R 33/65 46/100 46.0
CT 17 8D | 1R 9/36 29D | 22R 51/151 60/187 32.1
DC - 3D | 0R | 1Ind 4/13 0D | 0R unicameral 4/13 30.8
DE 37 4D | 1R 5/21 9D | 1R 10/41 15/62 24.2
FL 24 6D | 6R 12/40 23D | 13R 36/120 48/160 30.0
GA 23 13D | 2R 15/56 42D | 15R 57/180 72/236 30.5
GU - 7D | 3R 10/15 0D | 0R unicameral 10/15 66.7
HI 20 7D | 0R 7/25 14D | 3R 17/51 24/76 31.6
ID 16 4D | 5R 9/35 8D | 17R 25/70 34/105 32.4
IL 11 17D | 2R 19/59 37D | 8R 45/118 64/177 36.2
IN* 33 2D | 8R 10/50 17D | 11R 28/100 38/150 25.3
IA 25 6D | 5R 11/50 23D | 10R 33/100 44/150 29.3
KS 28 6D | 8R 14/40 17D | 15R 32/125 46/165 27.9
KY* 39 2D | 2R 4/38 18D | 10R 28/100 32/138 23.2
LA 47 3D | 2R 5/39 8D | 9R 17/105 22/144 15.3
ME 9 8D | 4R 12/35 47D | 11R 58/151 70/186 37.6
MD 7 12D | 2R 14/47 51D | 7R 58/141 72/188 38.3
MA 27 11D | 0R 11/40 38D | 7R | 1Ind 46/160 57/200 28.5
MI 12 8D | 3R 11/38 25D | 17R 42/110 53/148 35.8
MN 21 10D | 6R 16/67 34D | 13R 47/134 63/201 31.3
MS 49 4D | 5R 9/52 8D | 7R 15/122 24/174 13.8
MO 38 6D | 3R 9/34 18D | 20R 38/163 47/197 23.9
MP - 1D | 0R 1/9 0D | 1R | 2Ind 3/20 4/29 13.8
MT 22 11D | 2R 13/50 22D | 11R 33/100 46/150 30.7
NE 26 0D | 0R | 14Ind 14/49 0D | 0R - - unicameral - - 14/49 28.6
NV 1 9D | 1R 10/21 18D | 5R 23/42 33/63 52.4
NH 14 7D | 3R 10/24 109D | 26R 135/400 145/424 34.2
NJ* 18 9D | 1R 10/40 21D | 7R 28/80 38/120 31.7
NM 13 7D | 2R 9/42 24D | 7R 31/70 40/112 35.7
NY 15 14D | 5R 19/63 46D | 4R 50/150 69/213 32.4
NC* 33 6D | 4R 10/50 23D | 10R 33/120 43/170 25.3
ND 42 4D | 7R 11/47 8D | 12R 20/94 31/141 22.0
OH* 29 4D | 4R 8/33 19D | 9R 28/99 36/132 27.3
OK 43 5D | 4R 9/48 11D | 12R 23/101 32/149 21.5
OR 3 7D | 2R 9/30 22D | 7R 29/60 38/90 42.2
PA 32 7D | 6R 13/50 30D | 23R 53/203 66/253 26.1
PR - 0D | 0R | 7Ind 7/30 0D | 0R | 7Ind 7/51 14/81 17.3
RI 10 14D | 2R 16/38 25D | 1R 26/75 42/113 37.2
SC 44 2D | 2R 4/46 12D | 12R 24/124 28/170 16.5
SD 41 2D | 3R 5/35 4D | 15R 19/70 24/105 22.9
TN 48 4D | 4R 8/33 4D | 8R 12/99 20/132 15.2
TX* 39 3D | 6R 9/31 27D | 6R 33/150 42/181 23.2
UT 35 4D | 2R 6/29 12D | 8R 20/75 26/104 25.0
VI - 3D | 0R | 1Ind 4/15 0D | 0R unicameral 4/15 26.7
VT 5 10D | 0R 10/30 41D | 14R | 7Ind 62/150 72/180 40.0
VA 31 7D | 3R 10/40 22D | 5R 27/100 37/140 26.4
WA 4 12D | 7R 19/49 30D | 10R 40/98 59/147 40.1
WV 50 0D | 3R 3/34 8D | 7R 15/100 18/134 13.4
WI* 29 6D | 2R 8/33 18D | 10R 28/99 36/132 27.3
WY 46 1D | 5R 6/30 4D | 4R 8/60 14/90 15.6

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