Combining data with storytelling
Our team taps into quantitative and qualitative resources to show what it takes to run for office in Texas.
Did you know?
Our data sets are displayed at the Sue S. Bancroft Women's Leadership Hall at Texas Woman's University as an interactive exhibit. You can visit the exhibit on your next visit to Denton, Texas.
Why does our work matter?
Women make up a quarter of elected office in Texas, compared to men.
At the federal level, women have seen the greatest difficulty seeking public office. A woman did not represent Texas in United States Congress until 1966. Only one woman has ever served as a U.S. Senator for Texas. At the statewide level, women serve in a slightly greater percentage of office. Only two women have served as a Texas Governor, both being Democrats. Women have held around twenty percent of elected seats in both the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate since 1992, the first coined "Year of the Woman."
Texas ranks 37th out of 50 in the United States for women’s representation.
The percentage of women serving in Texas public office meets the national average at 24%. Women of color serve at an even lower rate. Though the Lone Star state does not rank in the bottom 10 states like Wyoming at 16%, it is far from the climb towards political parity. Currently, only Nevada has women serving in elected office at parity. In addition, Texas is home to 13 of the largest cities in the United States yet only one, Fort Worth, is governed by a female mayor.
There are barriers preventing women from winning that men do not face.
Women candidates face far greater obstacles during a campaign for public office than their male counterparts. Research indicates that women face greater scrutiny from media, especially for topics including family life and clothing, while also suffering from not gaining enough campaign media coverage compared to men. Women also tend to face greater difficulties if they take part in a partisan race. Women who either represent the Democratic or Republican party will eventually face opposition from the party itself and other nominated candidates.