July | August 2014


 
Women make up slightly more than half the total U.S. population, but significantly less than that in state governments across the country, according to data from the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University. Only five states have female governors—Jan Brewer in Arizona, Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, Susana Martinez in New Mexico, Mary Fallin in Oklahoma and Nikki Haley in South Carolina. Brewer and Hassan represent states where electing women to the highest office is old hat; both Arizona and New Hampshire have had two previous female governors. Connecticut, Texas and Washington also have had multiple women serve as the chief state official; all have had two female governors. In total, 33 women have served 26 states as governor.
In other statewide elective offices, 11 women are serving as lieutenant governor; eight as attorney general; 11 as secretary of state; seven as state treasurer; eight as auditor; and six as the chief state education official.

Women have fared better in state legislatures, but still hold only 24.2 percent of legislative seats, and only 17.9 percent of state leadership positions. Six current state house speakers are women, while 10 state senate presidents are women. Oregon leads the country with the most women in legislative leadership positions with five, followed by California with four. Sixteen states have no women in leadership positions.