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This year’s unprecedented surge in political enthusiasm among young women has sparked a flurry of headlines, candidate trainings, and campaign announcements.
But the lasting — and potentially history-altering — impact of this wave of women pledging to run remains to be seen. Will this increase in interest and activism finally fix our country’s gender parity problem? Or will it be a blip on the political radar that gives way to (male-dominated) business as usual?
This week, we’ll get an early litmus test as voters across the country hit the polls for local and, in a few cases, state elections; female candidates are running for everything from governor to critical state legislative races to city council in the off-year contests. And while we won’t know the results until after the polls close Tuesday, there are signs that the spike in enthusiasm could translate to major wins for women on the ballots.
An analysis by the Center for American Women in Politics found increases in female candidates in both New Jersey and Virginia, the two states holding state legislative elections in 2017. When it comes to the Virginia House of Delegates, the number of female candidates is at an all-time high — up an eye-popping 60% compared to recent cycles. In both states, the increases are largely coming from the left. “Short answer: yes, more women are running, but overwhelmingly on the Democratic side,” the analysis concluded.
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