July 19, 2019 | 93° F

Women in state legislator reach all-time high, support female friendly policies

Photo by Wikimedia |

New Jersey’s own Nia Gill is part of the 24.1 percent of women of color that hold positions in state legislatures. She was elected into the Senate in 2002 and held the position of senate president pro tempore between 2010 and 2017.

Female representation in the 2018 state legislature is at an all-time high.

According to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), 25.3 percent of state legislatures in the United States are women. This number has grown slightly since 2017 when the number was at 25 percent.

A steady increase of female representation in state legislatures has been a reoccurring trend since the 1970s. According to a graph composed by CAWP, the number of women has gone up 16.2 percent between 1977 and today.  

A total of 1,871 women currently serve in state legislatures. Most of those women are Democrats, taking the lead with 1,140 representatives, 704 of the remaining women are Republican and the rest are involved with smaller parties. 

Women of color make up 24.1 percent of the women who serve in the state legislatures. New Jersey’s very own Nia Gill represents this demographic as a Black senator. She was elected into the Senate in 2002. Gill was Senate president pro tempore from 2010-2017, according to New Jersey Legislature.

The diversity of women in politics has been beneficial, according to an article written by The Washington Post in 2013.

“… Congress, while still lagging behind the nation as whole in diversity, reflects national demographic changes that hold significant implications for American politics,” according to the article. 

According to an article on political parity done by CAWP, women and men prioritize different legislative decisions. A 1988 foundational study found that women were more likely to draft bills dealing with women’s children's and family issues. The article also stated that female state legislators have better connections with women’s organizations than men do.  

Overall, the data shows that having more women, especially minority women, in state legislature increases government adherence regarding concerns and interests of women across the country.

Elizabeth Kilpatrick

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