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Vote Smart Women in Power


WOMEN’S POLITICAL POWER STEADILY GROWS


For 80 years since Jeanette Rankin was elected the first and only Congresswoman in 1916, women made halting progress. However, as the charts below demonstrate, women have more than doubled their power in Congress since 2000 and are surging in both major parties.


1. Congressional Representation

Story:  The percentage of Congress made up by women has more than doubled in the past 20 years, according to Vote Smart's comprehensive database, from 14.02% in 1999-2000 to 31.3% in 2019-2020. Additionally, the percent of Congress made up by women has increased in ten of the past eleven Congresses.  The current Congress features the largest increase of women representatives in the past twenty years – a 6% increase.   


2. Party Affiliation

Story: Women have increased their representation in both major political parties in Congress over the past twenty years, but they tend to skew more to the Democratic side of the political aisle. 70.6% of female congressional representatives over the past twenty years have been Democratic, and 28.5% have been Republican. Conversely, male congressional representatives tend to be more Republican - 40.9% of male congressional representatives over the past twenty years have been Democratic, and 58.0% have been Republican.


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