“I think We can confidently say that we are gonna have more women in office on Tuesday then we’ve ever have.” — Christina Ladam, political science researcher.
The number of female candidates seeking public office is at an all time high. While the number of women running in elections nationwide spiked following the 2016 presidential election, a recent study by researchers at CU Boulder, Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina, also linked the trend to women being inspired by Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. In 2016, women accounted for 16 percent of federal congressional candidates, but in 2018, that number has jumped to 23 percent.
Political science PhD candidate Christina Ladam, lead author of the study, says a large influence could be Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, she identifies this as the role-model effect.
“When women see a prominent woman in the political world they’re more likely to see themselves as a part of the political process.”
The study found, on average, the presence of a female governor or U.S. senator in a state translated to an additional seven women running for state legislature in the next election cycle.
“When states elect a woman to a high profile office … we see about a seven person increase in the number of women who run for state legislature in those states.”
Even when female candidates lost elections, the data showed a boost in the overall number of women running for state legislature.
Ladam says the data shows that when women do in fact run for office, they face the same probability as winning, “but women run for office at much lower rates than men and so if we want to fix the disparity we need to get more women to run for office.”
It’s important to note that increase of women running for office isn’t equal across the political spectrum; While women make up 30 percent of democrat Candidates in 2018, the number of women republican candidates is only 12 percent. In fact, the number of republican women candidates in federal elections has actually gone down since 2016, moving from 127 to 122 candidates. Federal elections are not the only elections we should be discussing though, as Ladam points out.
“We need to focus more on those entry level offices, because that’s how people get their start in politics, and those are going to be our candidates for senator, for governor, for president.”
Even though the gap between men and women in office is still large, women are working hard to close that gap, bringing us closer to a equal political climate for all.
“I think We can confidently say that we are gonna have more women in office on Tuesday then we’ve ever have.”