top of page

Women getting elected to office is more than a trend

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

Women represent 51% of the US population. So why do they represent less than a third of the nation’s elected leaders? We can’t expect to achieve the best policies when nearly half the population is shut out from policy making. By tapping the full talent pool this country has to offer, there is no problem we can’t solve. This IN FOCUS TV series explores how women are gaining access to more political power at a historic and pivotal moment in American history.

The fact that women are ideologically diverse across the board is also one that voters now can consider. There is not a woman that is a "one size fits all" candidate. There are women that are liberals, conservatives, far right, far left and the "dangerously" extreme candidates. That can be exciting and it can be horrific, depending on your point of view.

When Democrat Frederica Wilson won reelection to U.S. House in Florida's 24th Congressional District on November 8th 2022, it came as no surprise to most political junkies. However, there were plenty of surprisees around the nation for women running for office on all levels.

There's lots top be proud of when looking at the women of the U.S. Congress. As of November 7, 2022, there are 123 women in the U.S. House of Representatives (not counting 4 female non-voting delegates), making women 27.9% of the total. In the last midterm elections, Democratic women won a historic number of congressional races. Two years later, the GOP had its own “Year of the Woman.” But now that the 2022 primaries are long over, signs that Republican women would continue to gain on their Democratic counterparts were still unclear.

Why does it even matter? Here's why; When more women hold office, the impact goes beyond improving the count in any one segment of government. It can help improve larger inequalities, such as a gender-based wage gap in which American women continue to earn 82 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Women Are Running For Office at unprecedented Rates according to a recent article by Chris Tognotti, American women have reportedly been entering the political process in a big way, and not only through activism or advocacy. Women were running for office in the recent years at staggering numbers. Overall, women remain underrepresented in politics.

On the Governor's front, Tina Kotek is the first openly lesbian governor (Oregon)

Women are 51 percent of the voting-age population in the U.S., but only 27 percent of candidates who ran in primaries for Senate, House or governor this cycle were women. This is not because 3-in-10 candidates in each party are women: As has been the norm for a few decades, women made up a larger share of Democratic candidates than Republican candidates. Why the disparity? disparity. The potential candidate pool for Democrats is larger, as pipelines to political office are occupied by more Democratic than Republican women, and more women identify as Democrats than Republicans.

The GOP also has organizations that aim to elect more women. They are not as integrated into their party’s donor networks and have less influence. Republican voters have yet to truly galvanize behind electing women. In 2018, the now third-ranking Republican in the House, Rep. Elise Stefanik, started E-PAC to support a bench of female candidates, which initially received pushback from the party. Their candidates did well in 2020 primaries.

About 31% of state lawmakers nationwide are women, or about 2,297 people, according to CAWP. In the 100 most populous U.S. cities, only 31% have a woman serving as mayor, according to CAWP. Among the roughly 1,620 cities with more than 30,000 residents, the percentage falls to 25%.

After delivering her platform to address crime and the economy, Kathy Hochul, (pictured left), is the Democrat who became New York’s first female governor when she succeeded Andrew M. Cuomo after his resignation. The slate of women running for office on November 2022 is robust, but the challenges for women as candidates are steep as well.

White men are still the largest share of candidates and nominees for both parties, and both parties ran and nominated far more white men than white women. But, interestingly, there is more gender parity among candidates of other races. For example, according to Fraga and Rendleman’s data, Republicans nominated almost as many Latinas as Latinos. And Democrats nominated more Black women than Black men. That’s notable given how Black women are often considered the “backbone” of the Democratic Party. A Black woman has still never been elected governor. No Black women won statewide elected office in 2020. And although there are a record number of Black women state legislators at 354, only 12 hold leadership posts nationwide.

Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (pictured left), won reelection to U.S. House in Florida's 20th Congressional District, making history as a Haitian-American in that role. She ignited a buzz during her first run when she campaigned with everything she had. It helped her win a narrow first election but she cruised to a win on Nov. 8th 2022 for her second run. The truth is that, in many cases, women simply have a harder time getting elected. In Congress, for example, plenty of female lawmakers are prolific fundraisers but many also have to raise even more dollars in order to win. Women who run for Congress must raise an average of 29% more than men in order to win their seats, according to a Capitol Canary analysis of 170 House races in which women faced off against men in the 2020 election cycle. While several high-profile women did not win their highly publicized races, they still were able to grow a powerful coalition and increase voter awareness.

Check out this quick but important video message from Baptist Health on Breast Cancer

A woman makes history in Miami-Dade County

Marleine Bastien is well-known for her civic achievements in Miami-Dade County. After decades of community service and government advocacy, nonprofit director Marleine Bastien won the District 2 seat on the Miami-Dade Commission. She is the first Haitian American woman to win a seat on the Board.

Bastien on Nov. 8th won a runoff race against two-term North Miami Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime to succeed longtime Miami-Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime.

Stay focused on this series and how women are running and winning elections. Learn about new faces and some familiar veterans changing the landscape of politics.

1 Comment

Woodie Lesesne
Woodie Lesesne
Nov 11, 2022

Women are a powerful unstoppable force when we come together on a common cause. Many women government leaders have a personal style of governing that is collaborative, practical and brings people together to solve big problems. Men in gov't could a learn a few things from them.

bottom of page