Last night, when Elena Parent defeated Rep. Jill Chambers, she became the only Democrat in Georgia, and one of only ten in the entire nation, to take a seat in the state legislature from an incumbent Republican.

Those aren’t the only waves Georgia women made last night.

When the Georgia General Assembly convenes in January, more women than ever will be serving.  Last night, 54 women were elected to the Georgia House and Senate.  That’s 22.9% of the 236 members. According to data compiled by the Rutgers Center for Women in Politics, that’s the highest percentage since 1975, the first year Rutgers tracks. (I doubt that women had a pre-1975 high point, hence my “most ever” claim.) Last session, 46 women served, or 19.5% of the total, and Georgia ranked 38th in the nation for the percentage of female representation in the legislature. approximately the same as our rank for overall child well-being. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

The question is, did the trend toward women serving happen just in Georgia, or is the trend national?

The increase in female representation is entirely in Georgia House with the Senate remaining exactly the same last session. Only 8 of 56 Senators are women, and only one of the 8 is a Republican. In House, however, the increased gender diversity cuts across party lines. 46 women, 30 Democrats and 16 Republicans, were elected to the Georgia House. That’s five more Republican women and three more Democratic women than last session.

Now, the question is, how will the increased number of women serving impact the agenda?  Will the Women’s Caucus be active and functional, showing an ability to come together on issues that impact women and families? We can only hope. And, what could happen to encourage these women to flex their political muscle?

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5 Responses to Ladies’ Night

  1. MouthoftheSouth says:

    honestly, if you compare 06 and 2010 (the mid-terms with a governor race) we actually improved in a lot of areas, and if you compare it against the national waves, we actually look pretty good!

    buck up, little campers!

  2. Amy Morton says:

    Well, there is that; however, we added more Democratic women. too.

  3. Jason says:

    Yeah, but if Republican women are as bad as the men in their voting records, what good are they? (Yes, Jan Jones, I’m looking at YOU)

  4. Ed says:

    Oh what a night.

  5. Amy Morton says:

    Since all of the increase was in the House, I ran those numbers. The % of women in the House last session was 21%, and now it is 25%. Heck, at this pace, it would only take 12-14 years to get to parity. 🙁