PoliticsWilliam J. Ford

Black Women Gain Statewide Offices, But Representation Still Lacking: Report

Black women representation in elected statewide offices increased from 3.7 percent last year to 4.3 percent this year, the largest increase since 1994.

The number of Black women elected to statewide executive offices doubled in the past year from three to six.

These and other figures come from a report titled “Black Women in Politics 2019,” recently released by the Higher Heights and Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

“Even where their numbers have increased, there is still vast opportunity for growth in the number of Black women running and winning at all levels of office,” stated the report to assess the information less than a year before the 2020 presidential election. “These data illuminate that opportunity to expand Black women’s political power, in addition to raising questions about what motivates Black women to run and what conditions facilitate or hinder their success.”

The report highlights some figures that show Black women are nearly 8 percent of the population, but less than 5 percent of Congress, statewide executive offices and state legislatures.

For instance, only 15 Black women have ever served in statewide executive offices such as lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state in 13 states including Ohio, California and Kentucky.

The report credits former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams in her bid last year to become the first Black women ever elected governor. Although Abrams lost, she continues to receive praise for putting the spotlight on Black women running in major elections.

In fact, Georgia currently leads the nation with 36 Black women, exactly half of the 72 women currently in its state legislature.

Maryland ranks seconds with 27, including House Speaker Adrienne Jones of Baltimore County, the state’s first woman and African American to hold the position. The state represented a record total of 73 women in the General Assembly.

Also included in the total is recently appointed Del. Nicole A. Williams (D-District 22) of Greenbelt. She replaces former Del. Tawanna Gaines, who resigned and pleaded guilty in October to wire fraud.

“I always feel like our legislature should be reflective of the demographic of the community in which we’re legislating,” Williams said. “While the report from Higher Heights and Rutgers is wonderful, there is still a lot more work to be done.”

Because of the most anticipated presidential elections in history next year where Democrats look to defeat Republican Donald Trump, the report assesses three recommendations for other organizations support Black women. They are:

• Harness the energy to support Black women candidates for elected office who are engaged in advocacy, community engagement and public leadership.

• Expand the sites for recruitment to non-minority districts at the state and federal level, particularly statewide executive offices and U.S. Senate.

• Address barriers that impede Black women’s entry or success in political institutions.

Del. Wanika Fisher (D-District 47B) of Hyattsville said barriers remain for minority candidates to raise money and get support from high-ranking officials.

“Black women are facing two issues: sexism and racism. Combating both those things to be leadership and in the executive role is really, really hard,” she said. “People are more comfortable working with Black women, but not as comfortable taking orders from Black women. That is the difference and that is why you don’t see many in executive positions in our federal delegation anymore. I am hoping that tied will change.”

Click here to view the full report.

Tags
Show More

William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Subscribe today for free and be the first to have news and information delivered directly to your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Close

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker