Where Are All The Women?

With my first post, I head back to my roots if you will.  I spent four years working on political campaigns.  After transitioning to the nonprofit world I gained free time, hobbies, and saw the return of my friends.  When not working I make jewelry, read constantly, and explore my amazing city.  I am a political news junkie, an historian by education, and trying to figure out my place in the world as a millennial and feminist.  As a recovering campaign staffer, election coverage can be hard to walk away from.  It’s almost a relief it’s over.

Before Tuesday’s election, there was a lot of talk about women losing ground, losing seats to men.  There are so few women in elected office to begin with; especially in statewide or federal offices it is scary to think we might take a step backwards in terms of representation.

When you look at which states have never had a woman serve as governor, senator or congressperson, the picture looks different.  While we have come a long way, there is still so much road ahead of us!  Two states have never seen a woman serve as governor, or Congress: Iowa and Mississippi.  The list of states is surprising, but there is little overlap, you can analyze all you want about the reasoning.  For example, California, currently sending two women to the Senate, has never seen a woman serve as governor.  We all know women have run for the job, so are they just waiting for the right candidate?

I know several women who were torn in during the 2008 presidential primaries as to who to vote for.  None of them appearing to be natural Hillary supporters, they were struggling to decide between voting for the woman – cause hey – this could be our chance! or voting for the candidate they agreed with the most.  When Sarah Palin was first announced as the VP candidate, I heard a lot of women talk about potentially supporting McCain – that is until they got to know her better.

Are we expecting too much of women candidates over men?  Is there still a good ‘ol boys club in these states?  In some cases maybe, in others, it may be the right women are just not running.  I personally find it hard to support a woman for elected office when her position on many issues will actually move us back in time.  But the states that have not elected a woman to these positions are literally all over the map.  What does it take to increase women in elected office?  What is it we expect from them?

Below is something for you to think about as the election analysis I am sure will continue for few weeks.

States where a woman has never been elected Senator:

Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming,

States where a woman has never been elected to the US House:

Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi, North Dakota, Vermont

States where a woman has never been elected governor:

Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin

 

Originally appeared on Fem2.0

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