Nevada State Legislature Becomes First Majority-Women State Legislature in U.S. History — but there’s a caveat.
RUTGERS – December 19, 2018 — Following a handful of vacancy appointments, the Nevada legislature in 2019 will become the first in the nation with women serving in a majority of seats. Thirty-two of 63 (50.8%) seats in the Nevada legislature will be held by women , 23 in the Assembly and 9 in the Senate.
There is, however, a caveat to this milestone: while women will hold a majority of overall seats in the Nevada legislature, they will only be a majority in a single chamber. The Nevada Assembly will be majority-women (23 of 42 seats), while a majority of Nevada state senators will be men (12 of 21 seats).
“After decades of stagnation in the number of women running for and holding state legislative seats, passing this milestone makes the gains of 2018 all the more significant,” said CAWP Director Debbie Walsh, “and it shows once again that if we have the candidates, we can get the officeholders. This year we had the candidates.”
Prior to 2018, only one state legislative chamber had ever been majority-women, when 13 of 24 seats in the New Hampshire Senate were held by women in 2009-2010. After this year’s midterm elections, which ushered in record numbers of women officeholders at all levels of government, both the Nevada Assembly and the Colorado House will join this short list of majority-women state legislative chambers.
Women made significant gains this year in state legislatures around the country, with women set to hold at least 2,112 (1,431D, 660R, 13NP, 4I, 4P) seats, an increase of more than 200 seats over the previous record of 1,879 (1,144D, 708R, 14NP, 1WFP, 7I, 5PRG), set in 2018.
CAWP’s work tracking women’s representation in state legislatures is ongoing. Stay tuned for our updated state rankings and a status report for women of color in state legislatures.
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The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers-New Brunswick, is nationally recognized as the leading source of scholarly research and current data about American women’s political participation. Its mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding about women’s participation in politics and government and to enhance women’s influence and leadership in public life. CAWP’s education and outreach programs translate research findings into action, addressing women’s under-representation in political leadership with effective, imaginative programs serving a variety of audiences. As the world has watched Americans considering female candidates for the nation’s highest offices, CAWP’s over four decades of analyzing and interpreting women’s participation in American politics have provided a foundation and context for the discussion.