Nevada just made history by putting women in charge of its government.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nevada and Colorado have made U.S. history, opening their state legislative sessions with female majorities.

Women make up 50.8% of the American population, so it only seems logical that women would make up approximately half of our elected representatives. However, only 25.3% of state legislative seats in 2018 were held by women. With the November midterm elections, that percentage increased to 28.5%—still abysmally shy of half.

Enter Nevada and Colorado, two shining beacons of hope for women in government. As of Monday, Nevada became the first state legislature with a female majority, with approximately 51% of state representatives and senators combined being women. And Colorado became only the second state ever to have at least one chamber of its legislature—its lower house—be majority female. New Hampshire was the first, when its state Senate held a female majority in 2009 and 2010.


“It’s a great victory,” said Bea Duran, a new Democratic member of the Nevada Assembly, in an Associated Press telephone interview. “Women are proving to have more knowledge and aren’t afraid to show that power that they have.”

The U.S. lags far behind many other countries when it comes to female representation in government.

The Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University has a neat little info page that shows where we stand when it comes to gender parity in politics. Women still make up less than a quarter of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Less than a quarter of mayors are female. Less than a fifth of state governors are women. And we have still never elected a female President or Vice President in this country.

Compare that to the dozens of countries around the world who have had female heads of state, including India, Turkey, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Argentina, and many more. Rwanda, Cuba, and Bolivia all have female majority legislatures. According the U.N., as of November 2018, 49 single or lower legislative houses were 30% female or higher, including 21 countries in Europe, 13 in Sub-Saharan Africa, 11 in Latin America and the Caribbean, 2 in the Pacific, 1 in Asia and 1 Arab State. The United States is not among them.

We Americans tend to think ourselves quite progressive, but when it comes to leadership and power, we have some pretty extreme patriarchal norms to overcome.

Research shows that women do win elections in America—when they run.

Naturally, it's going to take time to mitigate the fact that women were actively shut out of politics for most of our country's history. But there's more that we can do to speed up the process.

Erin Loos Cutraro, founder and CEO of She Should Run, spoke to Upworthy about what needs to be done to get more women into elected positions.

"We know that when women run, they win at the same rate as men," Cutraro said. "They're just not running. That doesn't mean that there aren't challenges — like fears about raising money, balancing home, work, and campaigning, and other barriers unique to women — but the bigger challenge is convincing women of all walks of life that they have something to give to their communities and their country and to put their names on the ballot."

Perhaps the legislatures of Nevada and Colorado will inspire more women to run for office and shift our elected representation closer to real gender parity.

lop
More
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular