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Parity Postponed: an analysis of women’s representation and the 2022 election

The 2022 election cycle reminds us that progress towards gender parity in politics is neither linear nor guaranteed, but we need to keep working to remove systemic barriers in order to move forward.

Executive Summary

Over the last two decades, women have been making steady gains towards gender parity at a rate of one to two points per cycle at most levels of office. There were bright spots in the 2022 election. A record 12 women were elected governor, bringing women’s representation in this statewide office closer to the current rates of other offices. And Colorado became the second state with a majority-women legislature, joining Nevada as the only two states to achieve gender parity. However, in many areas women’s gains stagnated. The number of women serving in Congress remains virtually flat, while the number of women elected to state legislatures increased only slight overall and declined in some states.

Taken as a whole, the results from the 2022 election cycle remind us that progress is not always linear or guaranteed.

At The Ascend Fund, we’re committed to accelerating the pace of change toward gender parity in U.S. politics. If we are to achieve our goal of women holding 50% of elected offices, in all 50 states, by 2050 (50x50x50), we must continue to normalize women’s leadership and establish pathways for more women to see themselves as candidates. To that end, Ascend supports organizations that bridge existing gaps by providing training, support, and financial resources to ensure that when women step up and run they are successful. And to truly transform the system, we’re working to dismantle the systemic barriers women face so elected officials reflect the diversity of our community.

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