Representation Matters for Women in Office
More Women Legislators = More Legislation to Advance Women
On Friday, the Colorado General Assembly convened for the first time since May 2018 and looked a bit different. While voters added two more women to the State Senate this year, they added seven more women to the House of Representatives. In 2018, 38 percent of Colorado’s General Assembly were women, ranking fourth in the nation for female representation. In 2019, 47 percent* of Colorado’s State Senators and Representatives are women, ranking second in the nation, only behind Nevada.
Why is this so important? Because representation matters. Women in office use their own diverse lived experiences and intersections as women, mothers, neighbors, employees, and students to help evaluate and identify the most important issues impacting a community’s prosperity. They have first-hand knowledge of the anxiety that comes with trying to pay for child care. Their retirement savings statements reflect a very real gender pay gap, where they have been paid less than their male peers for decades, even when they have more education.
A 2016 study published in The Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy found that women lawmakers were more likely than men to request earmarks for promoting women’s health and combating violence against women. It also cited another study that found that women in office are more likely than men to introduce bills in what researchers called “women’s issues” areas, including health, education, and civil rights.
Women’s Issues Are Everyone’s Issues
To be clear, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado is a nonpartisan organization. Many people think that “women’s issues” are progressive issues. We disagree. Women’s issues are everyone’s issues and impact not only women, but their children, families, communities, workplaces, and the entire economy. We work with legislators – women and men – on both sides of the aisle to create economic opportunities that will help women thrive and Colorado rise.
This legislative session, WFCO looks forward to working with our state legislators, fellow coalition members, and grantee partners to advocate for the issues that matter to women: access to equal pay, family leave, local control for minimum wage, child care tax credits, and more.
We are excited by the possibilities ahead and the changes we can create over the next four months with the help of our statewide network of advocates. To learn how to advocate for issues impacting women in your community, save the date for our Lobby Day on March 5, 2019, and join our Facebook Live on January 17 at 10:30 a.m.
*Subject to change based on appointments for vacancies that have yet to be filled.