Republicans Must Lead the Campaign for Political Parity

The gender gap of the 2012 presidential election shined a spotlight on the need for a stronger effort to engage women with the Republican Party. Republican Majority for Choice honed in on this in our 2014 National conference series, Focus 54: A Republican Conference on Women. During this event series, we heard from experts like Debbie Walsh of the Center for American Women in Politics and Marni Allen of Political Parity. We also welcomed new partnerships with organizations like Vote Run Lead, a new political-tech organization dedicated to growing the number of women running in state legislatures across the country. Now CAWP and Political Parity are releasing a breaking new study on the GOP Gender Gap “Republican Women and the Gender Gap: Clearing the Primary Hurdles.”

In recent decades, the country as watched as the numbers of women grew in statehouses, and women gained a greater share within Congress. But traditionally, Democrats have been the driving force of these wins, and Republican wins have served to offset these victories. Women make up less than 20 percent of all federal lawmakers, 19 percent in the House and 20 percent, and while women make up 33 percent of all congressional Democrats, they are only 9 percent of the GOP Caucus. And in the 2014 midterm elections, Republican numbers grew in statehouses nationwide, but women lost a net of 6 seats.

New research from our friends at Political Parity and CAWP, however, reveals a new future for Republican women. As Debbie Walsh writes, “To climb higher, many more women candidates, and particularly more Republican women, need to run.”

As the National Journal wrote, “this could be a tall order for a Republican Party that has struggled to get women into office.” But we are up to the challenge.


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