Gender and the Idaho Legislature

March is Woman’s History month. The Statesman has a feature by Jeanne Huff that makes an Idaho connection. Even though the first paragraph of the article claims that the Seneca Falls convention was in 1948 rather than 1848 and fails to point out that Idaho and Utah were the first two states in the Union to pass woman suffrage laws, it does give interesting thumbnail sketches of five important women in Idaho history.

The article got me thinking about the current Idaho legislature and I made an interesting discovery. Although Democrats are a minority in the House, 63% of the Democratic representatives are women. That’s right- of the 19 Democrats in the House, 12 are women. This compares with Republicans where there are only 7 women and 44 men. The gender breakdown is quite different in the Senate where there are only 6 women in the entire body with two of them Democrats.

I haven’t bothered to check the gender breakdown in the other 49 statehouses, but I would be very surprised if there was another state where women comprised a majority among Democrats.

This bodes well for Idaho Democrats (and Idahoans in general) because so many of the women legislators are demonstrating real leadership. In particular, Wendy Jaquet, Minority Leader in the House, and Kate Kelly, Minority Caucus Chair in the Senate, are articulate and forceful spokespersons for progressive Legislation.

jaquet25.jpgkelly18.jpg

It would be nice to see a Statesman feature celebrating and highlighting the women in the Idaho legislature.

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