Here’s a surprise: Idaho actually has more women legislators than the national average. Even though just 25 percent of Idaho’s legislative seats are held by women - eight of 35 in the Senate and 18 of 70 in the House - the figure’s even lower nationally, with women comprising just 23.5 percent of state legislators nationwide. That’s according to a 2007 study conducted by the Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, for the National Foundation for Women Legislators.
The subject comes up because today, when the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee held its budget hearing on the Idaho Women’s Commission, which some lawmakers want to eliminate, Director Kitty Kunz said the Legislature and state leadership are a clear example of how Idaho’s women haven’t reached equity. The same 2007 study shows that Idaho lags behind other states in the number of women holding statewide elected office. Just one of the seven elected state offices is held by a female, state Controller Donna Jones, or 14 percent. Nationally, 24 percent of statewide elected offices are held by women. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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