Overall, women fill just 22% of leadership roles — defined as state house and assembly speakers, state senate presidents, and the majority and minority leaders in each chamber — in state legislatures.
“Among other duties, they have the power to determine the makeup of committees, assign bills to committees, develop legislative calendars, and act as the voice of the chamber or their party,” the study explains.
The state with the highest percentage of women in leadership roles is Oregon with 67%.
The 12 states that have zero women in top legislative jobs are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
How does Hawaii compare?
We have 17% of women in top roles at the Legislature, far behind other states in the west like California (50%) and Washington State (33%) but tied with Alaska.
Why is this important?
“Research has shown that, overall, women and men have differing legislative priorities and these differences have real impacts on their constituency,” says FollowTheMoney.org. “Women lawmakers are much more likely to introduce legislation on issues that deal with women, children, and families than are their male counterparts. As a result, women in leadership roles, where they are determining the merits of new bills and setting legislative agendas, are more likely to champion legislation around women’s issues.”
The analysis is a collaboration with the Center for American Women and Politics.
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