Mar 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

In mayors' offices, men far outnumber women

Data: Axios research; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios
Data: Axios research; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Out of the 50 largest U.S. cities, only 15 have female mayors. That proportion stays the same when looking at the largest 100 cities: 70% of mayors are men.

The big picture: Women are running for office at every level of government. Although Elizabeth Warren's withdrawal effectively ended the chance of electing a woman to the presidency this year, there's progress elsewhere.

  • Congress counted its highest number of women after the 2018 elections and, as of last month, 584 women were running or likely to run in House races, an increase from 437 two years ago, per the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

Yes, but: Men still far outnumber women as mayors.

  • Women I spoke with this week at the National League of Cities conference told me it's not out of lack of interest. Many women are very engaged in their communities and are passionate about making them better.
  • At the municipal level, there are plenty of ways to have an impact outside of the mayors' office. Women are represented on city councils, county commissions, school boards, and the offices of city managers and economic development.

What to watch: Female mayors, while still in the minority, are recognizable names in municipal politics.

  • Seattle's Jenny Durkan, Chicago's Lori Lightfoot, Tampa's Jane Castor and Washington, D.C.'s Muriel Bowser, for example, are getting attention for tackling tough problems.
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