Perspectives on parity

Our column dives into the challenges women face when running for office and the groundbreaking solutions that The Ascend Fund and our partners are pioneering through innovation and collaboration.

How Legislative Pay Limits Who Can Serve in Office and Inhibits Reflective Democracy

In 2021, a historic 143 women will serve in Congress. Billions of dollars are spent each cycle to elect the 535 members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House, federal elected officials receive a disproportionate amount of attention from voters and the media alike. However, there are far more state legislators – 7,383 – than members of Congress, and as Congress becomes more polarized and thus less productive, the role and influence of state legislatures is growing.

As the calendar rolls over to a new year, and an election year at that, we look back on recent accomplishments and look forward to celebrating important historic milestones. A record-breaking number of women ran for and won seats in Congress in 2018 causing pundits to term it the “year of the woman.”

While International Women’s Day is supposed to be a global celebration of women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements, we don’t feel much like celebrating, if we’re being honest. We’re frustrated, to put it mildly, that a record breaking six women ran for president this year, but only one (Rep. Tulsi Gabbard) remains in the race – and with no viable path to becoming the nominee.

During the 11th (oof!) Democratic primary debate, I sat on the couch paying more attention to my phone than what the five remaining candidates on tv were saying. That is until Joe Biden promised to pick a woman as his running mate. My ears perked up. Did I hear that right? Twitter quickly confirmed, Biden had said: "I commit that I will in fact pick a woman to be vice president."

Anyone who has ever taken a home pregnancy test knows, the three minutes you wait for the line(s) to appear feels like three hours. And no matter what result you’re hoping for, you experience a rollercoaster of emotions in those three minutes as you envision various versions of your future.

While we continue to wait for results of the presidential election, we can celebrate women across the country, up and down the ballot, that made history and broke records.

A record number 140 women will serve in the 117th Congress, breaking the record of 127 women set in 2019. This record brings us closer to gender parity,

In 2020, the United States ranked 53rd in the global gender parity index by the World Economic Forum. One key reason was the lack of women in political leadership in the U.S.

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