Here’s something to celebrate: Women are running for office at record-breaking rates this midterm election, both nationwide and in Georgia.
Not only are they running for office at record-breaking rates, but they have been winning primaries and are proving to be strong challengers in many pre-election polls.
And it’s not just white women — a racial disparity that often exists in other areas where women are underrepresented.
Women of color make up more than one-third of women House candidates and nominees across the country, according to the Center For American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.
Black Women in Politics reports that 41 Black women filed to run for office this year in Georgia. And, as we all know, this includes top of the ticket candidates like Stacey Abrams.
Georgia’s State Legislature is slowly becoming more diverse as well.
There is a strong contingent of Black women already in our state legislature: Eight Black women in the State Senate and 23 Black women in the State House. Nonetheless, Black women are still underrepresented when compared to the overall population.
But in the past two years this state has witnessed several firsts. Bee Nguyen was the first Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI) woman elected to the State House. And Brenda Lopez, followed by Deborah Gonzalez, were the first Latina women elected to the State House.
Along with these wins for women, other victories like the election of Sam Park — the first openly gay Korean-American state legislator — represent a shift toward more diversity among Georgia’s policymakers.
There’s still more work to be done to make sure our policymakers actually represent the diversity of identities and lived experiences we have. As Remezcla reports, Latinas make up less than 2 percent of elected officials holding power in Congress, statewide offices and state legislatures across the country.
Meanwhile, the stats for the AAPI community are not much better.
“Nationwide, there are over 220 progressive AAPI candidates running for elected office on the federal, state, and local level in 32 states,” reports Ed Diokno for AsAmNews earlier this year (this includes people of all genders, not just women).
This is still a moment worth celebrating. Witnessing more women in general, and more women of color specifically, not only run for office but win, is incredible.
As Kelly Dittmar & Glynda C. Carr write in a recent Rewire piece:
“These findings—and this year’s wins for Black women—should lead us all to consider what gains could be made if we truly invested in and saw the full political potential of Black women as candidates and officeholders, as well as the incredible value of Black women’s representation in policy debates and decisions that will shape our country’s future.”
There is something to be said for how this statement extends to other communities of women of color. How could our political landscape change we all truly have a seat at the table?