Mar 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Democrats have more women in state legislatures than Republicans

Women in state legislatures, by party
Data: National Conference of State Legislatures; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Democrats claim roughly twice as many female state legislators as their Republican counterparts, but the GOP has a significant advantage in local lawmaking: It maintains control of more state legislatures across the country.

Why it matters: From abortion rights to child care provisions, there's been heightened attention to the gender impact of legislation emanating from statehouses. It's likely to drive voter turnout in this year's crucial midterms.

By the numbers: Besides their raw overall numbers, Democrats have more women in leadership positions in the states: 55 vs. 20 for the Republicans.

  • And Democrats have more state chambers with majority-women caucuses. There are 40 chambers where at least half of elected Democrats are women.
  • By contrast, there's one chamber in the country where the majority of elected Republicans are women.
  • Republicans have control of 30 state legislatures to Democrats' 17. (There are two divided chambers.)

The big picture: Both parties have long-term plans for investing in state legislative races, with an eye toward affecting the 2024 presidential election.

  • Republicans are prioritizing the state chambers they hold, particularly those in 2024 battleground states like Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin.
  • They're also targeting specific Democratic-controlled state chambers in Colorado and Minnesota, after flipping the Virginia statehouse last year and narrowing the gap in New Jersey.

Democrats, likewise, are focused on keeping their state legislatures.

  • They're also hoping to be competitive in places like New Hampshire, Arizona and Pennsylvania.
  • And they're already thinking about their investment over the next decade in more challenging places.
  • Their hope is to gain control of the statehouses in Iowa, Texas and Georgia, and both state legislative chambers in North Carolina.
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