Over the past year, record numbers of women reached out to mobilizing organizations like the political action committee (PAC) called EMILY’s List and expressed their interest in running for office.
Hundreds of thousands of women joined women’s marches around the country to demonstrate for gender equality.
Summary: Despite differences in political institutions and culture, the United States could borrow from European approaches to increase women’s representation, especially at the state and local levels.
The United States has fallen behind most established democracies with respect to women’s representation in politics.
While many countries have made rapid progress in this domain, the United States has not kept pace: when it comes to women’s representation in national legislatures, the United States’ rank has sunk from 41 in the world in 1997 to 101 in 2017.
The comparison with Western European democracies—similar to the United States along most socioeconomic and democratic indicators—is particularly revealing.A May 2017 survey showed that while many Democratic women have been politically energized, men are still significantly more likely to have considered running for office or taken concrete steps to do so ahead of the 20 elections.These findings suggest that closing the gender gap in U. politics in the near term may require more comprehensive and ambitious action.Nor does descriptive representation equal substantive representation.Women are not a homogeneous group: their interests and experiences are shaped by social, racial, and economic hierarchies.Women currently hold 19.8 percent of 535 seats in the U. The same gap in representation also extends to the state and local levels: women hold only six governorships, about one-quarter of state legislative seats and statewide elective executive offices, and one-fifth of mayoral positions in the hundred largest U. Women of color now hold elected office at historically unprecedented levels—of the 105 women serving in the 115th Congress, 36.2 percent are women of color. In 1990, Democrats and Republicans fielded female House candidates at roughly similar rates.Yet by 2012, Democrats accounted for 70 percent of the women running for election to the House.As of December 2017, the number of women challenging incumbents in the House of Representatives is almost four times higher than during the same period in 2015.While many Democratic women have been politically energized, men are still significantly more likely to have considered running for office or taken concrete steps to do so ahead of the 20 elections.The Nordic countries have come closest to parity, with women holding, on average, 41.7 percent of seats in single or lower houses of parliament as well as significant shares of parliamentary committee chairs and ministerial positions.Of course, these numbers alone do not constitute proof of equal political power.