Women State Legislators

Today, only one in every four State legislators is female

Currently, women hold 24.2% of all the 7,383 legislative seats across the US States. Well below a 50-50 gender equality ratio. The number has significantly improved from the '70s, though. In fact, today's number of women legislators is more than 5 times that of 40 years ago. Back in 1971 for example, there was one women for every 22 legislators.

(Source: Data on the number of women legislators 1975-2015 per State is from The Center for American Women and Politics. From this, we computed the other variables used in the charts below, like averages and growth rates).

Legislatures of Southern States Are the Most Male-Dominated of The Country.

Eight of the ten States with the lowest share of women legislators are Southern States. Southern States are more likely to be male-dominated, and this holds also when averaging for the number of total states in each US Census Region. Women are holding 19% of the legislative seats in the Southern States. For the Midwest, this value is 25%. And 28% of the legislators are female in the West and Northeast States

Percentage of Seats to Women - 2015

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In fact, if we excluded the Southern States, there would be 1,302 female legislators for 4,865 seats. That's a 27% share of the total, and three percentage point higher than the current 24% nationwide ratio.

Vermont and Colorado are the Closest to a Gender-Balanced State Legislature.

As of 2015, women hold 41% of the State Legislature seats of Vermont and Colorado. Arizona and Minnesota also have a third or more of women legislators. But things haven't always been like this. Back in time to 40 years ago, only 4 of the current 10 states with the most gender balanced state legislature were already in the top 10. In 1975, New Hampshire was actually leading the rank, with 24.6% of female legislators in its seats. Higher than the current nationwide average. (Change the filters to compare any other two years)

Top 10 States for Percentage of Seats to Women - 1975



Top 10 States for Percentage of Seats to Women - 2015



Minnesota is Closing the State Legislature's Gender Gap at the Quickest Rate.

New Hampshire started off really well. But its gender gap in State Legislatures shrank at a slower rate than elsewhere. In 2015, it has 28.8% of female state legislators. That's less than 4 percentage points more than the 1975 value. On the other hand, the current leader Vermont passed from 14.7% to 41.1% in those same 40 years!



Percentage of Seats to Women in 1975 and 2015

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Minnesota is closing its gender gap in State legislatures on average by about 0.81 percentage points a year (1975-2015 average). New Hampshire improved only by 0.12 percentage points per year.

Average Percentage Increase Per Year in Share of Women Legislators

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Of course, this statistic flattens out actual oscillations. This is what the gender gap in legislative seats looks like for the two states, between 1975 and 2015. (Change the filters to compare any other two states)

Percentage of Seats to Women 1975 - 2015 - New Hampshire



Percentage of Seats to Women 1975 - 2015 -Minnesota



It Will Take Wyoming 225 Years to Reach a 50-50 Gender Ratio in State Legislature.

Back in 1975, 7.6% of Wyoming's State Legislature seats were held by women. This year, the value is still only 13.3%, one of the lowest in the country. This means that after 40 years the gender gap has shrunk by 0.16 percentage points per year. 

Years Till 50-50 Ratio

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Wyoming's rate towards gender equality is only lower than that of New Hampshire. At least, though, the latter started off with a 24.6% share of female legislators. If Wyoming's growth rate were to remain stable, it would take another 225 years before the state reaches a 50-50 ratio of male and female legislators. 

Top Ten States Which Will Take Longer to Close the Gender Gap in State Legislatures.

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Wyoming's low scores are partly due to the State's recent trend. Through the 80's and early 90's, Wyoming had 23-25% women legislators. But from 2000 the share has almost always remained lower than the average 1975-2015 value of 19%.

Percentage of Seats to Women 1975 - 2014 - Wyoming

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Explore All The Variables Behind The Gender Gap in US State Legislature.

Ten States with the Highest Percentage of Women State Legislators (1975 - 2015 Average)

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Percentage of Women State Legislators 1975 - 2015 - View Timeline by State

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