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.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less