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.
Women have been fighting for equal pay since entering the workforce en masse during WWII. One of the most notable pieces of legislation passed on the issue of equal pay was the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibited wage discrimination on account of sex.
This year poses a unique opportunity to achieve a long-overdue first, electing the first Black woman governor in the United States. In November there will be 36 governorships on the ballot, including all of the nine offices currently held by women.
In 2020, all eyes were on the White House and Kamala Harris’ historic election as the first woman and woman of color to serve as vice president. In contrast, 2021 was an “off-year,” meaning there were only a few federal or state races which, typically take place in even numbered years.
To rapidly accelerate the pace of change toward gender parity in state legislatures, pivotal policymaking bodies, The Ascend Fund is making targeted, transformational investments in 13 state and local organizations in Michigan, Mississippi, and Washington.
Latinas are deeply underrepresented at every level of elected office. Latina leadership, however, is transformational, when elected, Latinas are powerful changemakers, fighting for their communities.
Women in politics are making history across the country as they continue to break down barriers and increase representation in government. While there are now more women serving in office than ever before, we’re still far from true gender parity.
For more than a decade, from 1993 to 2004, Washington ranked 1st in the nation for women’s representation in the state legislature. But progress faltered from a high of more than 40% in 2000 to just 32% in 2011.
Achieving gender parity in politics will take persistence in states like Mississippi. Mississippi consistently ranks in the bottom 10 states nationwide for women’s representation and women have never held more than 20% of the state legislative seats.