Women make gains in U.S. Congressional seats

Posted 1/4/21

Women are the majority of Americans as well as the majority of voters. What does that mean in practical terms? How did that play out in the November 2020 elections? A record-breaking number of women …

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Women make gains in U.S. Congressional seats


Women are the majority of Americans as well as the majority of voters. What does that mean in practical terms? How did that play out in the November 2020 elections? A record-breaking number of women won seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2020 election.

We know the country is divided, but there is common ground for women’s issues. Women value safety, want their bodies respected and are interested in issues that support families, such as child care and paid family leave. Women are becoming more informed and more involved.

Huge numbers have become political activists, participating in an explosion of social media as advocates for issues they care about and are working hard to get out the vote.

The results of the recent election bear out the results. According to the Center for Women and Politics at Rutgers University, the number of women who will serve in the next U.S. Congress (January 2021) includes 17 (14-D and 3-R) incumbent women senators who were not up for election in 2020. Numbers do not include Senator Kamala Harris (D) who will ascend to the vice presidency.

Total Congressional seats to be held by women will be 141 (105-D and 36-R). This compares to an all-time record in 2019 of 127 seats held by women (106-D and 30-R).

Looking only at the U.S. House numbers, there will be 117 women (89-D and 13-R) compared with the previous record of 102 in 2019. The U.S. Senate will have 51 women (46-D and 5-R), compared with 48 in 2019.

Regarding women of color who will be serving in the total U.S Congressional seats in January 2021, there will be 51 (46-D, 5-R), compared with 48 women of color serving in 2019. Women of color will hold 48 seats in the U.S. House (43-D, 5-R) compared with 44 in 2019. In the U.S Senate, there will be three women of color (3-D, 0-R) compared with 2 in 2019.

It is too early to have complete data analysis of the 2020 election results by women voters, but it is reasonable to expect to continue to see a gender gap.

A gender gap in voting refers to a difference between the percentage of women and the percentage of men voting for a given candidate. Even when women and men favor the same candidate, they may do so by different margins, resulting in a gender gap.

In every presidential election since 1980, a gender gap has been apparent, with a greater proportion of women than men preferring the Democrat in each case. A sizable 11 percentage-point gender gap was evident in the 2016 presidential election, with 42 percent of women and 53 percent of men voting for Donald Trump.

In Arizona, the not yet official counts by gender show women voted at a 66.6% turnout, while men turned out to vote at 62.7%.

The Arizona Legislature is scheduled to convene Jan. 11, 2021, and adjourn April 23. Republicans will control both chambers and the governor’s office. However, the margins will be close: 16 Republicans and 14 Democrats in the Senate; 31 Republicans and 29 Democrats in the House.

Here is the leadership roundup:

Arizona State Senate

Senate president: Karen Fann (R); Majority leader: Rick Gray (R); Minority leader: Rebecca Rios (D).

Arizona House of Representatives

Speaker of the House: Russell Bowers (R); Majority leader: Ben Toma (R); Minority leader: Reginald Bolding (D).

You can find the name and e-mail address of your legislator at this link: https://www.azleg.gov/memberroster/.

If you do not know your district number, find it at https://azredistricting.org/districtlocator/.

Women’s Watch is a cooperative writing effort of the local chapters of the American Association of University Women, the League of Women Voters and the National Organization for Women. This article was submitted by Bonnie Boyce-Wilson.

women, Congress