Gender Stat: Politics 2013 - Page 2

By the Numbers: Women as Political Actors

Women in Elected/Appointed Political Office

Globally

The Global Gender Gap Report shows that 18 countries around the world were led by women as president or prime minister in 2013. In all, 40 countries have had female heads of state. Historically, more women (five) have led Switzerland than any other country in the world. The next closest are South Korea, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Finland, and Lithuania, which have each had three female leaders. Bangladesh, Guyana, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Liberia, Philippines, New Zealand, and São Tomé and Príncipe have each had two. The U.S. has never elected a woman to head the country, nor has either of the major political parties nominated a woman as their candidate for president.
 

Women heads of state in office in 2013 globally (elected & appointed)*
(Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership)

Country

 

Office/Name

Term

Germany

Chancellor Angela Merkel

Nov. 22, 2005–Present

Liberia

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Jan. 16, 2006–Present

Argentina

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner

Dec. 10, 2007–Present

Bangladesh

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed

Jan. 6, 2009–Present

Iceland

Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir

Feb. 1, 2009–May 23, 2013

Lithuania

President Dalia GrybauskaitÄ—

July 12, 2009–Present

Costa Rica

President Laura Chinchilla

May 8, 2010–Present

Trinidad and Tobago

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar

May 26, 2010–Present

Australia

Prime Minister Julia Gillard 

June 24, 2010–June 27, 2013

Brazil

President Dilma Rousseff

Jan. 1, 2011–Present

Kosovo

President Atifete Jahjaga

Apr. 7, 2011–Present

Thailand

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra

Aug. 8, 2011–Present

Denmark

Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt

Oct. 3, 2011–Present

Jamaica

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller

Jan. 5, 2012–Present

Malawi

President Joyce Banda

Apr. 7, 2012–Present

South Korea

President Park Geun-hye

Feb. 25, 2013–Present

Slovenia

Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek

Mar. 20, 2013–Present

Cyprus (North)

Prime Minister Sibel Siber

June 13, 2013–September 2, 2013

 * President-elect Michelle Bachelet (Chile): Presidency March 11, 2006--March 11, 2010; President-elect since December 15, 2013

 

In the U.S.

Federal Elected Offices and High Level Appointments
(Center for American Women and Politics)

 

Gender Composition of Congress by Chamber:
(Congressional Research Service, as of December 2013)

 

Total Seats

Women Total

White Women

Women of Color

Congress

535

99

18.5%

69

12.9%

30

5.6%

Senate

100

20

20%

19

19%

1

1%

House

435

79

18.2%

50

11.5%

29

6.7%


According to the National Women’s Political Caucus, at one end of the gender and politics spectrum, New Hampshire was the first state to have its Congressional and gubernatorial officeholders be all women. At the other end, no women have ever represented Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi, or Vermont in either house of Congress.

The U.S., unlike many of its peer nations, does not use quotas as a means of increasing the number of women represented in publicly elected office. The Quota Project confirms that in 2013, 51 countries used voluntary political party quotas wherein individual political parties set a minimum percentage or number of women candidates to participate in elections. When cross-referenced with the Global Gender Gap Report, it appears that four of the five countries identified as having the smallest gender gap globally (Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Philippines) have also implemented voluntary political party quotas.

Internationally, on average women represented 21.4 percent of members of national legislative bodies in 2013. The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report shows that the U.S. ranks 76th out of 132 countries for the ratio of female to male officeholders in parliament. Cuba ranks first with a ratio of 49 women to 51 men in its primary legislative body. Yemen and Qatar, both with a ratio of 0 women to 100 men, ranked 131st and 132nd, respectively. The following chart by the Inter-Parliamentary Union gives a region-by-region perspective:
 

Women in National Parliaments, by Regional Averages
(Inter-Parliamentary Union)

Region

Single House or lower House

Upper House or Senate

Both Houses combined

Nordic countries

42.0%

N/A

N/A

Europe - OSCE member countries including Nordic countries

24.6%

22.6%

24.2%

Americas

24.2%

23.8%

24.1%

Europe - OSCE member countries excluding Nordic countries

23.0%

22.6%

22.9%

Sub-Saharan Africa

21.1%

18.7%

21.7%

Asia

19.1%

13.8%

18.5%

Arab States

17.8%

7.7%

15.9%

Pacific

13.1%

38.6%

15.9%



Seniority in the U.S.

Executive-level seniority

During President Obama’s first term, women comprised 30 percent of his cabinet. The same is true for his second term: among 23 cabinet and cabinet-level appointed positions, seven (or 30 percent) are held by women.

Cabinet Officers

  • Secretary of the Interior: Sally Jewell

  • Secretary of Commerce: Penny Pritzker

  • Secretary of Health and Human Services: Kathleen Sebelius

Cabinet-Level Officers

  • Director of the Office of Management and Budget: Sylvia Mathews Burwell

  • Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: Gina McCarthy

  • Ambassador to the United Nations: Samantha Power

  • Administrator of the Small Business Administration: Acting Administrator Jeanne Hulit

Other women in high-level positions serving the Executive Branch are: Valerie Jarrett (Senior Advisor), Latifa Lyles (Acting Director of the Women’s Bureau, Department of Labor), Cecilia Muñoz (Director, Domestic Policy Council), Julia Pierson (Director, U.S. Secret Service), Susan E. Rice (National Security Advisor), Nancy Sutley (Chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality), Mary Jo White (Chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission), and Edith Ramirez (Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission). In addition, the Senate is expected to confirm the nomination of Janet Yellen (Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System) to be the first female chair of the Federal Reserve in January 2014.

Are women more effective lawmakers?

In one study, researchers found that when male and female politicians were compared on an equal level, women were more effective legislators. These resesarchers also assert that female legislators, when members of the minority party, more often use coalition building as part of their strategy than their male counterparts, who tend to depend on obstruction and delay.

Other scholars have found that once they become Congresswomen, female politicians, who necessarily demonstrate a high level of talent and qualifications in order to be elected at all, outperform Congressmen in many areas of effectiveness, including securing federal funding for their districts, introducing more bills, and working with more cosponsors.

The question of effectiveness as a lawmaker is especially important because female politicians tend to push for more “women’s issue” bills—such as health, labor, employment, and immigration, etc.—which need high-level support just to make it out of the committee process. However, if effectiveness is equated with seniority, legislation introduced by a less senior legislator (most of whom are women) that lacks support by higher-level legislators (most of whom are men) is far more likely to flounder or fail. 

Congressional seniority

Seniority, ranking membership, and committee membership play tremendous roles in effectively moving legislative agendas forward; however, female politicians are not represented on powerful committees or in chairperson roles. According to a report by Colorado Women’s College of the University of Denver:

There were four chairwomen among 20 Senate committees in 2012:

  • Agriculture: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

  • Environment and Public Works: Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

  • Small Business and Entrepreneurship: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

  • Veterans Affairs: Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

There was one chairwoman among 20 committees in the House of Representative 2012:

  • Foreign Affairs – Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)

The most powerful committees—House Appropriations, Ways and Means, Rules, Budget, Energy and Commerce—did not have any women in leadership positions.

State and City-Level Offices

Numbers are trending up for women elected to the U.S. Congress. Yet, as the following chart shows, over the past ten years, the percentage of women holding statewide and citywide office has stalled or decreased.
 

Women in National, State, and City Office 2013
(Center for American Women and Politics 2013)

 

Women in National, State, and City Office 2003 and 2013
(Center for American Women and Politics, 2003 and 2013)

 

Percentage Women in 2003

Percentage Women
in 2013

U.S. Senators

14%

20%

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives

13.6%

18.2%

State Governors

14%

10%

Statewide Elected Officials

25.6%

23%

State Legislators

22.4%

24.3%

Mayors of the 100 Largest Cities

14%

12%

 

State Legislators by Gender
(Center for American Women and Politics, 2013)

 

Total

Total women officeholders

White women

officeholders

Women of color

officeholders

State Legislators in 2012

7,383

1,789

24.3%

1,422

19.3%

369

5%

State Senate

1,972

411

20.8%

316

16%

94

4.8%

State Assembly

5,411

1,378

25.5%

1,106

20.4%

275

5.1%

Statewide elected executives

318

73

23%

62

19.5%

11

3.5%


State-Level Elected Officials
(Center for American Women and Politics, 2013 and National Association of Women Judges, 2013)

 

Total

officeholders

Men

officeholders

Women

officeholders

Governors

50

45

90%

5

10%

Lieutenant Governors

44 (50 - 6)*

34

77%

10

23%

State Attorney General

50

42

84%

8

16%

Secretaries of State

47

36

77%

11

23%

State Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer

49

42

86%

7

14%

State Comptroller/Controller

50

47

94%

3

6%

* Only 44 states have Lieutenant Governors

 

City-Level Elected Officials
(Center for American Women and Politics, 2013)

 

Total

Men

Percentage Men

Women

Percentage Women

Mayors of cities w/ populations over 30,000

1,341

1,099

82%

242

18%

Mayors of cities w/ populations over 100,000

281

241

85.8%

40

14.2%

Mayors of 100 largest cities

100

88

88%

12

12%


Judicial Appointments

Currently, three women serve as Supreme Court Justices, the most at any one time in U.S. history. Since its inception, only four women have been appointed out of a total 119 justices. In the federal judiciary system, there are 341 female judges and 314 judges of color, and about 26 percent of federal judgeship positions were held by women in 2012.


State-Level Elected Officials: Judges
(Center for American Women and Politics, 2013 and National Association of Women Judges, 2013)

 

Total state judges

Male judges

Female judges

State Court Judges in the U.S.

17,871

12,662

71%

5,209

29%

State Final Appellate Jurisdiction Courts

362

237

65%

125

35%

State Intermediate Appellate Jurisdiction Courts

974

648

67%

326

33%

State General Jurisdiction Courts

11,314

8,224

73%

3,090

27%

State Limited and Special Jurisdiction Courts

5,221

3,553

68%

1,668

32%


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