NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Women In Politics

February 17, 1999

The proportion of female office-holders in the U.S. has risen over the past several decades, but analysts say that trend has leveled off recently. It seems women have more trouble than men raising money for campaigns -- which discourages them at the outset from running for elective office.

  • Three out of 50 state governors, nine out of 100 Senators and 56 of 435 House members are women.
  • In state legislatures, city councils and county commissions, women represent between 20 percent and 25 percent of elected officials.
  • But the number of women running for state legislatures has dipped 4 percent since 1992.
  • The number of women serving as mayor in cities with populations over 30,000 has climbed from 79 in 1981 to 213 today.

The U.S. ranks 39th among nations in terms of women in national office. Unlike 22 other nations, the U.S. has never elected a woman president.

The state with the highest proportion of women in its legislature is Washington -- at 40 percent. Alabama has the lowest -- only 7.9 percent. In eight other states, the proportion is below 15 percent.

Source: Richard Wolf, "Women's Political Gains in Past Three Decades Level Off," USA Today, February 17, 1999.


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