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Women Running for Congress

October 20, 2008 | NeW Staff

Allison Stevens, Washington Bureau Chief of Women’s e News, writes about the possibility of women reaching a “critical mass” in Congress after the November election.

Stevens reports,


“This year Morales predicts women–who currently hold 87 of the 535 seats in Congress, or about 16 percent–could pick up as many as 13 seats on Election Day.

That means women’s share of the House could reach 19 percent, near the 20 percent that political scientist Sue Thomas identified more than a decade ago as a tipping point. In a study of 12 state legislatures Thomas found that when women held at least 1 in 5 state legislative seats, they were more likely to sponsor and push forward women-friendly legislation such as funding for domestic violence shelters and stricter child-support laws.

Marie Wilson, head of the White House Project, a nonpartisan organization in New York that works to elect women to all levels of office, sets that ‘critical mass’ bar higher, at 33 percent. That’s closer to women’s percentages in legislatures in Scandinavian nations, which have typically led the world in working toward gender equality.”

While I would be interested to read more about what legislation is characterized as “women-friendly,” this article highlights some races with female candidates this fall.

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