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Women’s Foundation’s analysis shows underrepresentation of women in Legislature


Press release

KANSAS CITY – The Women’s Foundation, which works to reduce barriers to civic engagement for women, released an updated analysis on how women candidates for the state offices fared in the 2018 midterms and the number of women who will be serving in the Missouri and Kansas legislatures in 2019.

“This year’s midterm elections saw historic victories by women on both sides of the aisle, but here in the heartland the numbers show there is still work to be done,” said Wendy Doyle, President & CEO of the Women’s Foundation. “While Laura Kelly will become Kansas’ third female governor, the number of women in the Kansas state legislature will actually decline in January. In Missouri, Nicole Galloway is now the state’s only female statewide elected officeholder, and women will still hold just a quarter of state legislative seats. Closing this gap is vital for our government to represent the diversity – and interests – of the communities it serves. Through our Appointments Project the Women’s Foundation is committed to building a pipeline of women leaders with the skills and experience needed to finally end the era of underrepresentation and close the leadership gap for good.”

In Missouri, there were a total of 118 women running in state, federal and judicial races in 2018. Sixty-one, or 53 percent, of those candidates won their respective races. In Kansas, there were 75 women candidates for those offices, 32 of which won their elections. The gender makeup of the Missouri and Kansas state legislatures will also remain largely static, with the percentage of women in the Missouri General Assembly ticking up from 22.8 percent to 25.4 percent, and the percentage of women in the Kansas Legislatures declining from 28.4 percent to 26.5 percent.

Last week, nine women were elected to the Missouri House and Senate leadership: Whip Sandy Crawford, Majority Caucus Secretary Jeannie Riddle, Minority Floor Leader Gina Walsh, Assistant Minority Floor Leader Kiki Curls, Minority Caucus Chair Karla May, Minority Whip Jamilah Nasheed, Caucus Chair Sonya Anderson, Caucus Secretary Chris Dinkins, and Minority Floor Leader Crystal Quade.

In 2014, the Women’s Foundation launched the Appointments Project® to remove barriers for women to serve on public boards and commissions so they are more reflective of the populations they serve.

Based on a first-of-its-kind study that identified numerous barriers causing women to be underrepresented on public boards and commissions, the Appointments Project serves as a talent bank and advisor for women seeking appointed positions in state and local government. To date, nearly 100 women have been appointed to state and local boards and commissions in Missouri and Kansas through the program.

Women in the Missouri and Kansas Legislatures (Does not include vacancies from officeholders who were elected to higher office.)

Women Candidates in 2018 (Includes federal, state and judicial offices)

Note: These numbers may adjust as vacancies are filled. Final election results must be certified by the Secretaries of State in Kansas and Missouri.