New Data on Women in State Legislatures
Following 2023 off-year elections in states around the country, the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, has updated its rankings of states by women’s representation in state legislatures. CAWP’s rankings are determined by the proportion of state legislative seats held by women. Changes in our 2024 rankings principally derive from state legislative elections held in 2023 in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia.
As a result of the 2023 elections, New Jersey was the only one of these states to see a decrease in women’s representation in its state legislature; the number of women holding seats in the New Jersey Legislature fell by two, and currently 41 women hold these offices in the Garden State. With women holding 34.2% of seats, New Jersey falls from 21st to 23rd in our rankings.
“People like to think that progress is self-sustaining, but these results show us yet again this is not the case,” said CAWP Director Debbie Walsh. “Results like these remind us that a future of political equality requires vigilance and ongoing action.”
Meanwhile, women gained seats in Louisiana (+6), Mississippi (+2), and Virginia (+2) as a result of 2023 elections. Virginia, with women holding 34.3% of seats, moves up four spots to 21st in our rankings. Mississippi and Louisiana also made gains, but these perennially low-ranked states remain in the bottom 10 in our rankings. Louisiana (23.6%) gained three spots to land at 42nd, and Mississippi (15.5%) moved up two spots to 47th.
The states comprising the top and bottom 10 in our rankings are unchanged from 2023, with no change in ranks among the top 10 states and some movement in the bottom 10 as a result of gains made in Louisiana and Mississippi.
The top and bottom 10 states for women’s representation in state legislatures in 2024 are:
See CAWP’s full rankings, and find out where your state ranks, at the Women in State Legislatures 2024 fact sheet. For additional context about women’s representation in state legislatures, see our Women as a Percentage of State Legislative Caucuses fact sheet. This resource underlines the severe partisan discrepancy in women’s representation. Women have reached or surpassed parity in more than half of all state Democratic caucuses; Republican women, meanwhile, have reached parity in zero Republican state legislative caucuses.
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