Aprill O. Turner
Higher Heights for America Leadership Fund
WASHINGTON, June 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — This week, Higher Heights Leadership Fund and the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, released the latest version of the report, Black Women in American Politics 2023.
For nearly a decade, Higher Heights and the Center for American Women and Politics have teamed up to report on the status of Black women in American politics. In that period, Black women have seen representational gains across all levels of office, including in the federal executive, and achieved milestones as candidates and officeholders within states and nationwide.
The 2022 election illuminated these realities. Record numbers of Black women ran for congressional and statewide elective executive offices and, as a result of the election, a record number of Black women now serve in Congress, in statewide elective executive office, and in state legislatures. Still, despite a record number of Black women running for and winning major-party nominations for the U.S. Senate and governor in 2022, last year’s election did not remedy the lack of Black women’s representation at either level.
This report provides a foundation for this work, offering an overview of Black women’s political representation today and over the past decade, as well as indicators of how Black women fared in the most recent election.
The report illustrates:
A record number of Black women serve in congressional, statewide elective executive, and state legislative offices, as well as in the presidential cabinet, in 2023, with important gains made and milestones achieved over the past decade. Since 2020, Black women have ascended to the vice presidency and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Still, despite being 7.7% of the population, Black women are less than 6% of officeholders in Congress, statewide elective executive offices, and state legislatures. They are eight of the mayors in the nation’s 100 most populous cities.
A record number of Black women ran for the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and statewide elective executive offices – including governor – in 2022, and a record number of Black women were nominees for the U.S. Senate, statewide executive offices, and governor. These candidacies translated into record-level officeholding at multiple levels, but no Black women serve in the U.S. Senate today and no Black woman has ever served as governor.
Between 2022 and 2023, Black women’s state legislative representation remained nearly equal – achieving a new high but by just three seats – though a record number of Black women currently lead state legislative chambers.
Black women won big-city mayoral elections in Los Angeles, California and North Las Vegas, Nevada in 2022, and a Black woman is poised to be elected mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in November 2023.
“In 2022 we were able to celebrate many historic wins by Black women running for federal, statewide office, and mayors of the top 100 cities. However, as with all history-making moments, not every goal aimed for during the election was achieved, and we felt the deep loss of the hard-fought campaigns with efforts to elect a Black woman to the U.S. Senate and as this nation’s first Black woman governor,” said Glynda C. Carr, President, and CEO of Higher Heights. “But make no mistake, Black women’s energy, work, and commitment to building a true democracy is continuing to diversify and improve America’s leadership. We will continue to strive in 2023 and in 2024 to diversify and improve America’s leadership to include the presence of diverse perspectives at every level of government.”
Higher Heights and CAWP issued their first report on the status of Black women in American politics in June 2014. Since then, 24 new Black women were elected to Congress, the number of Black women state legislators has risen by over 50%, Black women have made tremendous strides in representation as big-city mayors – with 15 Black women taking office as mayors in the top 100 most populous cities since mid-2014 – and a Black woman now serves as vice president.
“For nearly a decade, our reports on the status of Black women in U.S. politics have illustrated both the progress made and the persistent underrepresentation for Black women across levels of office,” said report author Kelly Dittmar, Director of Research at CAWP and Associate Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University-Camden. “These data are necessary to guide the interventions necessary to ensure continued growth in Black women’s political representation and power.”
Click here to read the full report.
About Higher Heights Leadership Fund:
Headquartered in New York, NY, Higher Heights Leadership Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization, and its sister organization Higher Heights for America, a national 501(c)(4) organization is investing in a long-term strategy to analyze, expand and support a Black women’s leadership pipeline at all levels and strengthen their civic participation beyond just Election Day http://www.higherheightsleadershipfund.org/.
About the Center for American Women and Politics:
The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is nationally recognized as the leading source of scholarly research and current data about women’s political participation in the United States. Its mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding about the role of women in American politics, enhance women’s influence in public life, and expand the diversity of women in politics and government. http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/.
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SOURCE Higher Heights for America