by Jennifer Shutt, Colorado Newsline
December 2, 2022

WASHINGTON — A record number of women will soon serve in state legislatures, breaking the previous cap of female lawmakers by at least 69 seats and bringing total representation to more than 32%, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.

States will have at least 2,376 female lawmakers in 2023, including both women elected in 2022 and holdovers. That is an increase in the number of women writing and voting on state laws from the current record of 2,307 women set in 2022. Another 59 races this year with female candidates are too close to call.

Democrats hold the lead with 1,560 members, while Republicans have 795. The remaining female state lawmakers don’t belong to a major party or are independent. CAWP, which is a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey, noted that means GOP female lawmakers make up just 33.5% of women state legislators.


The numbers are far from reflective of the nation’s population, though women have reached parity in some states.

Colorado will join Nevada next year as the only two states that have at least half of their legislatures made up of women, according to CAWP’s analysis of this year’s elections. Women hold exactly half of the seats in the Arizona and New Hampshire Senate chambers.

“Nevada became the first state to reach this milestone following the 2018 elections. As of Election Day 2022, 58.7% of Nevada state legislators were women, and in 2023 Nevada’s legislature will be 60.3% women,” CAWP wrote in a summary of state legislative election results.

“Colorado’s legislature will also be majority-women in 2023, with women holding 51% of state legislative seats,” CAWP wrote.

Colorado will have 39 women in the state House and 12 women in the state Senate in 2023 — meaning a total of 51 women in the 100-seat Legislature. House Democrats will have 34 women and House Republicans will have five women in office, while Senate Democrats will have 10 women and Senate Republicans will have two women in office.

Colorado was the second state to grant women the right to vote, and became the first state to have any women elected to a state legislature in 1894, when three women were elected to the Colorado House of Representatives.

Last month, Colorado House Democrats elected Rep. Julie McCluskie of Dillon as speaker, along with multiple other women in leadership roles in the House and the Senate. Rep. Brianna Titone of Arvada was the state’s first transgender lawmaker and will now also be the first trans lawmaker in a leadership role as majority caucus co-chair.

“For the first time in state history, Colorado celebrates a legislature with a majority of women lawmakers, including the most diverse, female-led House leadership team to date,” McCluskie said in an email. “Together, we’re moving Colorado forward with bold new ideas and diverse representation that stretches from our cities to our mountain and rural communities. I couldn’t be more proud to lead a caucus that reflects the state we all love.”

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Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.

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