Women set new records in legislative leadership

Women set new records in legislative leadership
© Getty Images
More women will hold leadership positions in state legislatures across the country than at any time in history, after a wave of new women won election in the 2018 midterms.
 
Six state House chambers will be led by women speakers, and nine state Senates will be headed by women, according to The Hill’s analysis of newly elected state legislative leaders.
 
And 51 women will hold top leadership positions in their respective legislative chambers, from New Hampshire’s deputy speaker of the House to Senate minority leaders in Oklahoma, California and Florida.
 
The vast majority of women in elected leadership positions are Democrats, including five of the six House speakers and six of the nine Senate presidents. Two of the three Republican women who lead state Senate chambers — Alaska’s Cathy Giessel and Arizona’s Karen Fann — won election to the top spot this year.
 
But 15 state legislatures are still entirely run by men, with no women serving in top legislative leadership positions. Those include Deep South states like Mississippi and Alabama, as well as blue and purple states like Rhode Island, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
 
Overall, 2,112 women hold seats in the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers, according to a tally maintained by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University -- an all-time high.
 
Women picked up more than 200 legislative seats in the 2018 midterm elections, and they now hold almost 29 percent of the 7,383 legislative seats across the country. That’s higher than the percentage of women who hold seats in Congress or governorships.
 
Nevada this year became the first state in American history in which women hold a majority of the state legislative seats. Western states like Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska also have high numbers of women legislators. 
 
Nine women serve as governors of their home states, and fifteen women serve as lieutenant governors. There are seven female attorneys general, and eleven women serving as Secretary of State. All told, women hold 86 statewide executive offices across the country, or about 28 percent of the number of positions that are elected statewide.