Combining data with storytelling
Our team taps into quantitative and qualitative resources to show what it takes to run for office in Texas.
Why is gender parity important in Texas politics?
Women make up only 20.4 percent of elected office in Texas, compared to their male counterparts
At the federal level, women have seen the greatest difficulty seeking public office. Only 7 women have ever represented Texas in the U.S. Congress with the first being delayed until 1966. Currently, only 3 women serve as U.S. Representatives and a sole woman has ever served as a U.S. Senator for Texas. At the statewide level, women serve in a greater percentage of office than in higher level offices. Only two women have served as a Texas Governor with both being Democrats; a Republican woman has never served as Texas Governor. Within State Legislature, women have held a consistent, or close to, 20% of elected seats in both the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate since 1992, "The Year of the Woman."
Source: “Texas.” Texas | CAWP, www.cawp.rutgers.edu/state_fact_sheets/tx
Texas ranks in the bottom third of the parity index
Texas ranks 34th in the United States with the overall percent of women serving in office never surpassing 20%
The percentage of women serving in Texas public office falls short of the national average at 24%. Though the Lone Star state does not rank in the bottom 10 states like Wyoming at 11.1%, it is far from the climb towards political parity. Currently, no state holds an even 50-50 percentage of men and women in office but states like Arizona and Nevada are the closest at 40%. 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.
Female candidates face greater obstacles, too
There are barriers preventing women from winning their campaigns that male candidates do not face
Female candidates face a far greater amount of 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 as women are rarely selected over men as a nominated and endorsed representative in a general election. Additionally, women also face the binding construct of societal gender norms that pressure women to take on full-time roles as homemakers and mothers rather than serve in the public eye as a political figure.
Source: "Women in Government: A Comparison of Local and Statewide Political Candidacy.", www.researchgate.com
Women of color serve at a lower percentage
Women of color serve at 12.4% of elected office in Texas including Federal, Statewide, and Local level offices
Women of color includes, but is not limited to, minority racial groups of female candidates who identify as Hispanic, African-American, or Asian-American. Women from these racial identities or backgrounds serve at a far lower percentage in elected office than women who identify as Anglo-American. When broken down into levels of government, women of color serve at the lowest rate in mayoral and countywide positions and serve in statewide legislation at the highest rate.