Last week, CAWP and our partners at Higher Heights released an updated status report, Reaching Higher: Black Women in American Politics 2021, with data on Black women’s current representation, as well as a look ahead at key races in the 2022 midterms. Some key findings from the report:

  • A record number of Black women ran for and won congressional offices in 2020, but Black women’s congressional representation is not at a record high.
  • Most acutely, no Black women currently serve in the U.S. Senate. Between 2020 and 2021, Black women’s state legislative representation increased, though not as much as it did after the 2018 election.
  • Black women reached a record high in state legislative representation in 2021; 354 (351D, 3R) Black women serve as state legislators nationwide, making up 4.8% of all state legislators and 15.5% of all women state legislators.
  • Despite being 7.8% of the population, Black women are less than 5% of officeholders elected to statewide executive offices, Congress, and state legislatures. They are 8 of the mayors in the nation’s 100 most populous cities.
  • Black women remain severely underrepresented as officeholders at the statewide executive level, holding just 1.9% of these positions.
  • Just 17 Black women have ever held statewide elected executive offices, and no Black woman has ever been elected governor despite the first-ever major party nomination of a Black woman for governor in election 2018.

In addition, Higher Heights and CAWP held a panel discussion on Friday to review the findings of the report and discuss the obstacles and opportunities for Black women’s representation in American politics. Panelists included Glynda C. Carr from Higher Heights; CAWP’s Kelly Dittmar; A'shanti Gholar, President of Emerge; Minyon Moore, Principal at Dewey Square Group; Sonya Ross, Founder & Editor in Chief, Black Women Unmuted; and the event was moderated by Nikole Killion, Congressional Correspondent, CBS News. The full event can be viewed here.