The Center for American Women and Politics Launches Public Database of Women Elected Officials

Newswise — The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, is proud to announce the launch of the online CAWP Women Elected Officials Database, a first-of-its-kind tool for exploring and analyzing women’s current and historical representation in the U.S. political system. The CAWP Women Elected Officials Database includes every woman officeholder in U.S. history at the federal, statewide elected executive, and state legislative levels. This tool expands on the officeholder database that CAWP has long kept and shared with researchers, and, crucially, transforms it into a searchable, online format for public access.

The CAWP Women Elected Officials Database contains entries for more than eleven thousand women officeholders dating back to 1893 when the first woman was elected to statewide office. Its features include:

  • Detailed information on women officeholders nationwide, including their officeholding history, party identification, and, when available, information about their race and ethnicity;
  • Searchable data by year(s), position, level of office, state, party, and officeholder race and ethnicity; and
  • Shareable and downloadable search results, with options to save searches for future reference, export data in multiple formats, and generate summary statistics and data visualizations.

By searching this database, you can discover facts like:

  • 65 women served in state legislatures before the 19th Amendment was ratified. 
  • Of the 563 women who have served in statewide elected executive offices in the United States, 51 (9.1%) are women of color.
  • 359 women have served as U.S. Representatives and/or U.S. Senators to date, including 243 Democratic women and 116 Republican women. 
  • The 101 women currently serving as U.S. Representatives represent nearly one-third of all of the women who have ever been U.S. Representatives. 

“Providing a public online database represents the fulfillment of a long-held ambition of the Center for American Women and Politics,” said CAWP Director Debbie Walsh. “Open availability of these data helps all of us understand more thoroughly women’s role in our country’s political history and creates opportunities for new research and programs addressing the lack of parity in women’s representation.

“We are grateful for the vision and support of our research from Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company founded by Melinda Gates,” Walsh continued. “We look forward to seeing the many ways in which scholars, journalists, activists, and our other stakeholders use this important new tool.”

This project was spearheaded by CAWP Data Services Manager Chelsea Hill, who is available to discuss the database’s functionality. Contact her via email here.

Learn more about the CAWP Women Elected Officials Database from its About and FAQ pages. As always, for additional context about women as officeholders and candidates, both current and historical, visit our Facts and Election Watch pages.

WEBINAR

On June 29th at 1pm ET, CAWP will host a live webinar to demonstrate the database’s applications for use by journalists, scholars, activists, and other stakeholders and answer questions about its development and functionality. The webinar will be led by CAWP Associate Director Jean Sinzdak, Data Services Manager Chelsea Hill, and political scientist and CAWP Director of Research Kelly Dittmar. Register to attend this webinar here.

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About CAWP 

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. CAWP’s education and outreach programs translate research findings into action, addressing women’s under-representation in political leadership with effective, intersectional, and imaginative programs serving a variety of audiences. As the world has watched Americans considering female candidates for the nation's highest offices, CAWP’s five decades of analyzing and interpreting women’s participation in American politics have provided a foundation and context for the discussion.

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