Gender Balance In State Legislatures Gets Closer, But Still A Long Shot In Raleigh

Gender Balance In State Legislatures Gets Closer, But Still A Long Shot In Raleigh

4:37pm Jul 11, 2018
Voters lined up at the Forsyth County Board of Elections in downtown Winston-Salem to cast ballots in this file photo from 2015. KERI BROWN/WFDD

A recent analysis of campaign data suggests North Carolina is among a number of states that could reach gender parity at the statehouse after this year’s election.

But it’s a longer shot in the Tar Heel State than in other places like Nevada, Maine, and Colorado.

According to a report by the The New York Times, women currently make up 25 percent of the North Carolina General Assembly. And if all of the women running this year win their races, it would bring the overall total to half.

That means voters would have to elect 43 additional women in November to reach a gender balance at the legislature. Given the power of incumbency – candidates who currently hold seats overwhelmingly win reelection – that’s a difficult task.

Nationwide, North Carolina is in the middle of the pack when it comes to female representation at the statehouse.

Roughly a quarter of state legislators in the U.S. are women.

According to the Times, women made significant gains in state legislatures in the 1970s and 80s, but that growth has plateaued in recent years.

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