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

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.

Twenty-six years ago, the media nicknamed 1992 the “Year of the Woman in Politics”, when a record number of women sought and won political seats in both houses of Congress. Lately there is talk that 2018 may be another such breakthrough year – and it would be sorely needed.  Women constitute more than half of the U.S. population but hold fewer than 20% of elective political offices, a vast underrepresentation that is often exacerbated by racial disparities as well. These gaps have persisted stubbornly for the two-and-a-half decades since 1992 with only incremental changes, but the combination of Trump’s election in 2016 and the #MeToo movement of 2017 seems to be spurring a record number of women to run in 2018. Is there really another “Year of the Woman in Politics” in store?

With exit polls fresh from the recent Alabama U.S. Senate election, many observers are scratching their heads and wondering why 63% of white women voters in Alabama voted for Republican Roy Moore, in spite of the fact that he faced numerous allegations of sexual predation against young girls. While surely not all of these white women voters were evangelical Christians, given that the race was in Alabama, which is 89% Christian (of which nearly half are evangelical), we can safely assume that many were.