January 08, 2019
A newsletter to keep you informed about all things women and politics from the Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University.

New Year, New You. (If You Are the United States Congress.)
Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids, the first Native American women to serve in Congress, share an embrace after being sworn in.
It's official. There are now 127 (106D, 21R) women serving in the United States Congress, 102 (89D, 13R) in the House and 25 (17D, 8R) in the Senate. More women than at any time in history. There are more women of color in the Congress than at any time in history. There are more newly-elected congresswomen than at any time in history. There are Muslim women and Native-American women serving in Congress for the first time in history. The youngest congresswomen in history are now serving.

But there's a catch. There are fewer Republican women now serving in the House, ten fewer to be exact, the lowest number for more than 25 years. And even with all the gains made in the 2018 elections, women still only hold 23.7% of seats in Congress, far from gender equity.

The mission has advanced, but it isn't accomplished.

2019 State Legislatures Rankings
Last week, CAWP revealed its new rankings for women's representation in state legislatures. Here are the high and lowlights.

Top 10 States
Nevada (50.8%)
Colorado (45.0%)
Oregon (41.1%)
Washington (40.8%)
Vermont (39.4%)
Maine (38.7%)
Alaska (38.3%)
Rhode Island (38.1%)
Arizona (37.8%)
Maryland (37.2%)
Bottom 10 States
West Virginia (14.2%)
Mississippi (14.4%)
Louisiana (14.6%)
Alabama (15.0%)
Tennessee (15.2%)
Wyoming (15.6%)
South Carolina (15.9%)
North Dakota (21.3%)
Oklahoma (21.5%)
Kentucky (22.5%)
To find out how your state measures up, visit our our Women in State Legislatures 2019 fact sheet for the complete rankings.
TIME CHANGE: Rebecca Traister and Brittney Cooper Event Will Now Start at 6pm on 1/29
Rebecca Traister and Brittney Cooper
The Political Power of Women's Anger: A Conversation with Rebecca Traister and Brittney Cooper, will now be held at 6pm ET on January 29th at the Douglass Student Center on the Rutgers University- New Brunswick campus. With the 2019 State of the Union Address now scheduled for that evening at 9pm, we want to be sure you won't miss either one.

Traister, a writer at large for New York magazine and the author of Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger, and Brittney Cooper, Associate Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers and author of Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower, will discuss their work in the context of the politics of the Trump era. The event is free, though registration is required. Books will be available for purchase and signing.
We counted up all these numbers. Now we're counting on you.

Support CAWP with a generous donation today.
Keep the Momentum Going. Get Ready to Run ®
Ready to Run™: This is Your Moment.
Ready to Run®: This is Your Moment
When women run, women win. The 2018 midterms put that to the test and proved it. So how can the 2018 momentum be sustained? By women like you standing up, seeking office, and putting themselves in the pipeline to power. Whether you've made the decision to run or are just considering the idea, whether you want to volunteer or join a campaign as a staffer, or whether you just want to get more engaged with politics, the flagship  Ready to Run®
conference in New Jersey will provide you with the skills and information to get involved. The conference runs from March 15th-16th in New Brunswick, NJ, and early bird registration is open now.

Not in New Jersey? Ready to Run ® National Network affiliate programs around the country will be hosting their own training sessions and conferences throughout the year. Find the program that's right for you.

NEW LeadershipTM New Jersey 2019 Applications Open
NEW Leadership™, a national nonpartisan program to educate college women about politics and leadership and encourage them to become effective public leaders in the political arena, has opened applications for its 2019 flagship program in New Jersey. Held from June 6th-11th, NEW Leadership™ New Jersey is a full-time residential program that includes sessions that practice professional development, expand political knowledge, and develop leadership skills and strategies, as well as the opportunity to develop an action project and travel to Trenton to meet with people actively working in state politics.

Are you, or do you know, a New Jersey college student interested in engaging more deeply with politics? College women of all academic majors who have completed their first year of college and are currently enrolled in a 2- or 4-year institution in New Jersey are encouraged to apply.

Colleges and universities around the country have joined the NEW Leadership™ National Network, so if you're a college student outside of New Jersey, keep an eye on the NEW Leadership™ site to find a program near you.

And So It Begins

On December 31st, Elizabeth Warren became the first Democrat to take an official step towards declaring her candidacy for president, when she released a video announcing the launch of her exploratory committee. It took less than 24 hours before the first story about her "likability" hit the internet. The reaction was swift. In The Boston Globe, Stephanie Ebbert asked why we're still asking the coded question about likability. The Washington Post wrote about the specific, gendered hurdles women encounter in running for office, facing the sorts of criticisms over personality rarely leveled at men. McSweeney's, meanwhile, drove their criticism home satirically with a piece titled I Don't Hate Women Candidates-I Just Hated Hillary and Coincidentally I'm Starting to Hate Elizabeth Warren. GQ said the discussion of Warren's likability was "already the dumbest debate of 2019." Peter Beinart, in The Atlantic, goes beyond the likable/unlikeable, favorable/unfavorable dichotomy to explore the misogyny undergirding reactions to women candidates, and Susan Chira and Lisa Lerer of The New York Times look at the internal tensions in the Democratic Party as they consider the steeper climb women candidates are sure to face in 2020. Finally, Washington Post columnist Monica Hesse questions the entire concept of likability: "We can like women later. Start by getting them in the room." 

Warren is just the first announcement in what's sure to be a series of potential challengers for the presidency in 2020, and many of those prominently under consideration are women, so we're sure to hear a great deal more about who's likable and what their voices sound like and what they're wearing and don't they look kind of tired?
Swearing-In Words

Nancy Pelosi gaveled in the House surrounded by the children of members, a moment she has created before, but images from this year's group and the same tableau from 2007 highlight the strides in diversity made following the 2018 midterms. With the 116th Congress officially sworn in, CAWP released our updated numbers and media organizations around the country reported on the changed face of U.S. politics. The New York Times produced an infographic about the freshman class in Congress, and Axios and U.S. News & World Report both put out stories detailing the diversity of the new Congress. Pacific Standard magazine spoke to CAWP Associate Director Jean Sinzdak about how this added diversity might affect legislation moving forward, and The Washington Post spoke to CAWP's Kelly Dittmar for a story about the jump in the number of women of color now serving, with Dittmar noting that these new congresswomen are "disrupting our perception of what political leaders look like." The Dominion Post of West Virginia noted their state's Carol Miller as the sole freshman GOP House member, while USA Today wrote about the diminished number of Republican women in the House and how their strong bipartisan ties with Democratic women may increase their punching power within their own caucus. Lastly, Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who was the youngest woman ever elected to the House when she first won office, penned words of advice to the women who supplanted her in that distinction, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) and Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), telling them to work hard, respect congressional staff, value their constituents, and encourage and mentor women coming up behind them. Sounds like good advice for everyone in Congress.

State Legislatures Get to Work

With state legislatures convening their new sessions, news organizations are looking at how election 2018 has altered the make-up of their state legislature in 2019. The Denver Post and other local outlets wrote about the record number of women serving in the Colorado legislature and the Colorado House becoming majority-women. In The Detroit Free Press, Nancy Kaffer lauds the strides made in the Michigan legislature, which jumped 15 spots in CAWP's state rankings, while also pointing out that women's current share of seats, 36%, is still a long ways from parity. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette wrote about the rise in women legislators in Arkansas leading to a tie with the state's all-time record, and The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that a large freshman class of women legislators in Ohio had set a new record high for representation. KQED in California notes gains women made in local offices throughout the state, as well as the modest increases in women state legislators. WisContext, a multimedia news and information project from Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television, took a detailed look at how women's share of seats in the Wisconsin legislature managed to stagnate in a year when women had electoral success around the country and in neighboring states. The Wichita Eagle, meanwhile, spoke to CAWP Associate Director Jean Sinzdak for a story about women losing ground in the Kansas legislature. Legislatures will continue to convene and swear in their new members over the next month, so keep watching your local newspaper for stories about your local government.
CAWP Calendar

Center for American Women and Politics
Eagleton Institute of Politics
Rutgers University | New Brunswick
191 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8557
(848) 932-9384 - Fax: (732) 932-6778