In 2018, we elected a notable number of women to Congress. Even in a banner year, the share of women in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate is still just 23 and 26 percent, respectively. At the state level, we do not fare any better: 18 percent of our Governors are women and 29 percent of state legislators.
As the 2020 primary season winds down, a record 55 women have won their GOP congressional primaries. This surge is in large part because of the number of women running: more than 220 Republican women filed to run for the U.S. House—an 86 percent increase from 2018. While none of the six women running for the Democrat party’s nomination won, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has made a pledge to pick a woman as his running mate.
Women’s representation in government is growing, albeit slowly. We need to do more. Here is why:
- Women in Congress pass twice as many bills as their male counterparts
- More women in legislatures brings greater visibility and access to the issues most important to economically disadvantaged and minority communities
- Women are more likely than men to favor harsher penalties for hate crimes and legally recognize LGBTQ+ rights
- Research shows women are more policy focused and engage more in consensus-building than their male colleagues
- Districts represented by women receive more annual funding on average compared to their male-represented counterparts
The bottom line – women get stuff done.
As our country faces the long-term health and economic effects of COVID-19 and as generations of racial injustice are brought to the forefront, now is the time to empower and promote leaders that will guide us through the tumultuous days ahead. Women have more than proven they are up for the hard work required. Being a female policymaker is an asset and not a liability.
We need to break down the barriers that prevent more women running for elected office. Stop basing their candidacy on likeability over the issues. Set the same expectations for women as we do for men. Endorse and donate to female candidates. For those women interested in running for office, you are qualified.
Every woman that runs opens the door for more women to run. While there is a long way to go, the future is female.