State News

Vermont gets low marks on gender equity in elective office

By Laura Krantz,

Vermont ranks 39th in the nation for gender equality in local, state and national elected office, according to a report published last week by Representation 2020, a national group that promotes women in politics.

The state is second highest in the nation for women in the lower house of the Legislature, but scores poorly in other areas. Of Vermont’s 149 state representatives only 63 are women, or better than 40 percent. That percentage has increased from 34 percent in 1993, the report found.

Representation 2020’s report also found that although nationwide gender parity rose from 9 percent 10 years ago to 16 percent last year, gender parity in Vermont declined from 20 percent 10 years ago to 12 percent in 2013.

Vermont is one of four states that has never elected a woman to Congress. Only a few women have been nominated on a major party ticket for the U.S. House or Senate. Vermont has had one female governor, Madeleine Kunin, from 1985 to 1991.

One of six statewide executive officeholders is female: Treasurer Beth Pearce. Only one of the state’s eight elected mayors is female, Liz Gamache in St. Albans.

A score of 50 would indicate that women and men are equally represented. Vermont’s score was 11. New Hampshire was first in the nation, with a score of 47.45.

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