While California is often considered a national leader when it comes to progressive policies, shockingly few women serve as elected representatives in the legislature.
According to data from the Center for American Women and Politics, California is ranked 32 for its proportion of women in the state legislature. The highest ranked state? Arizona, where 40% of state legislators are women.
As of this year, only 22.5% of elected officials in the state legislature are women. This lack of parity in the legislature is a disturbingly familiar trend and California is nowhere near the top when it comes to female representation. California ranks below the national average of 25% of women serving in state legislatures, with states like Vermont and Nevada coming out on top, and states like Mississippi and West Virginia hovering near the bottom. To make matters worse, only 24% of female state legislators are women of color.
However, progress is being made. Last March Toni G. Atkins made California history by being elected as the leader of the California Senate. Not only is she the first woman to hold this office, but she is the first LGBTQ+ person to do so.
Last year, Kamala Harris, the former Attorney General for the state of California, was elected as the newest Senator from California, joining Dianne Feinstein.
These women serve as groundbreaking and powerful examples to young women everywhere and send the message that women are here to stay.
*Statistics from the Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, and Rutgers University.