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Do Any U.S. States Have Equal Gender Representation in Their Legislatures?

Politicians are supposed to represent the people, so it might seem logical that there would be at least as many female legislators as male legislators. After all, there are approximately 5 million more women than men in the United States. But it wasn't until 2019 that a state legislature accurately reflected those demographics. Taking into account both the upper and lower houses, the bicameral Nevada Legislature has more women than men, with 32 of its 63 lawmakers (50.8 percent) being female. In the Colorado General Assembly, the lower house also has a female majority, but the overall legislature is still dominated by men. Generally speaking, the trend towards more female lawmakers has been growing, but women are still far from having an equal footing in most statehouses. As of 2018, only 28 percent of state lawmakers were women, with some states -- Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and West Virginia -- falling far behind, with only 15 percent of their state legislators being female.

The long road to the statehouse:

  • As of 2019, only nine of the 50 U.S. states are led by female governors.

  • In 1894, Colorado became the first U.S. state to elect women to the state legislature: Three Republican women served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 1895 to 1896.

  • In 1925, Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first woman to serve as the governor of a U.S. state, when she was elected to replace her late husband in Wyoming.

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