This is the year. More women are running for Congressional, statewide and local elections than ever before, according to several groups monitoring this year’s elections. Compared to 2016, 60 percent more women are running for House and Senate seats this year, or a total of 494 women running for Congress.
Historically, women serving in Congress has not changed much in the past several decades, at around 20 percent. Statewide offices are about the same. State legislature seats have increased from 20 percent to 25 percent from 1993 to 2017. The big rise has been in local elections where more women are running for school boards, city council, county commission and other governing bodies. In cities with populations 30,000 and above, women now make up about 21 percent of the mayors.
Just ten years ago, a Brookings Institute study found that women at the top of their professions were less likely than men to want to pursue a political career. The report listed several potential favors including that women were less likely to be recruited for political office. That was then, this is now. Women are being recruited. Big time.
The other factor is the 2016 election is dissatisfaction with Washington. That has influenced not only Congressional races, but statewide and local elections as well. Of the 36 governorships up for election, 35 have women in the races.
It is clearly time for a change. We need to elect more women and people of color to more adequately reflect our society and our priorities. Time to turn out long-term members of Congress who are insulated, do not reflect most of their constituents and only continue the status quo. Their election tactics are to scare voters and wrap themselves in symbols, not reality.
A Rutgers University study found that women in state legislatures tended to focus more on issues related to children and families, education, the environment, the elderly and health care. I say that is a good thing.
Vote for the best candidates but strongly consider women in your selection