Do our leaders reflect the diversity of our people? Insights and analysis on gender and representation in federal positions.

Midterm votes are still being tallied, and women are predicted to increase their overall share of state legislature seats from 25.4% to as much as 38% across the country. Next year, at least 2,019 women will serve in state legislative offices exceeding the previous record of 1,879 women serving simultaneously set in 2018. This incorporation is vital for the important policies being debated and adopted in these legislatures, and for changing the workplace culture of legislatures. Women’s caucuses at the state level are one effective vehicle for ensuring that gender equity issues are included in state political agendas and that institutional norms expand to embrace women as equal partners in policymaking.

If you’ve been monitoring elections returns with an eye to gender and intersectionality, you know that the record number of women candidates for national office translated to an important increase of women in the US house, a slight decrease in the Senate, and a return to the record of nine women governors across the country. You also know that the exciting story nationally has been the many historic “firsts” for people of color, LGBTQ people, immigrants and others gaining federal office for the first time – what Van Jones and others call the “rainbow wave.” But what do these patterns look like at the state level? We dug into the data of one midwestern state, Minnesota, and see some similar increases of women (and men) of color gaining statewide or federal elected offices, but the numbers of women and LGBTQ people in the state legislature have declined slightly.

Gender quotas for corporate boards raise the proportion of female directors, because waiting for companies to voluntarily add women to their boards has proven an extremely long-game. In fact, even threatening companies with quotas can boost women’s appointments. As California considers the move, Europe provides evidence of its effectiveness.This August, California could become the first U.S. state to adopt gender quotas for corporate boards. The potentially precedent-setting bill has passed the state Senate, but opposition has emerged as the state Assembly begins deliberations. The deputy editorial editor of the Los Angeles Times referred to the measure as “social engineering at its worst,” and the California Chamber of Commerce argued the bill would reduce efforts to achieve workplace diversity by privileging gender over other identities. But the research is clear: state regulation is the only proven effective tool for speeding up women’s appointment to corporate board positions.

As women, especially women of color, run for office in record numbers, the Gender Policy Report interviewed Dianne Pinderhughes, Political Science Professor and co-author of Contested Transformation: Race, Gender, and Political Leadership in 21st Century America.  In the wake of President Trump’s election, the #MeToo movement and other developments resulting in a surge of women candidates, Dr. Pinderhughes discusses the institutional and historical factors that have contributed to representation for women of color from different communities.