Republican women watch their numbers decline in state legislatures

2018 was a bad year for GOP female candidates. The ones that did win elections don’t hold as much power as Democratic women

Sen. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, is one of only six Republican women in the Arizona Senate.

By Candice Norwood | Governing

The number of Republican women in state legislatures declined after the 2018 midterms.

Women make up a larger share of Republicans in Democratic-controlled legislatures than GOP-led legislatures.

Republicans are less likely to recognize the underrepresentation of women in politics and to help them run for office.

For many, 2018 was the “Year of the Woman.” But the wave of women winning elections didn’t extend to Republicans running for state office.

Though women’s representation in state legislatures increased from about 25 percent to 29 percent after the 2018 midterms, Republican women saw their representation decline from nearly 10 percent to 9 percent. Before the midterms, 705 state legislators were Republican women; after, only 662.

By contrast, women make up 43.1 percent of Democrats in legislatures where they have control and 40.6 percent of Democrats in legislatures where they’re in the minority.

“This means Republican women hold less power in the state legislatures where they have the greatest potential to make policy change,” says Kelly Dittmar, a professor at Rutgers University, who compiled these figures.


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