Women Breaking Records in Federal and State Legislatures

Some more good post-election news: There will be 74 women serving in the U.S. House of Representatives when the 111th Congress convenes next year. This is a record-high number of female representatives, though women will still makeup only 17% of the total number of legislators in the House.

Women are also making gains at the state level . For example, as a result of the election, women will now makeup a majority of the New Hampshire Senate. And in the South, a record number of women were elected to the Arkansas state legislature.

According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, there are many positive effects of electing women to political offices. They have found that female public office holders are:

  • more likely to give priority to women’s rights policies and policies related to women’s traditional roles as caregivers in the family and society;
  • more active on women’s rights legislation, whether it is their top priority or not;
  • more likely to opt for government in public view rather than government behind closed doors; and
  • more responsive to groups previously denied full access to the policymaking process.

(From The Impact of Women in Public Office, PDF)

We are encouraged to see more women being elected to public office and hope this trend continues.


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The Women's Law Project creates a more just and equitable society by advancing the rights and status of all women throughout their lives. To this end, we engage in high-impact litigation, advocacy, and education.
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