When lawmakers returned to the Texas Capitol last January, a group of women gathered on the Senate floor for a picture capturing a legislative milestone — by holding just eight of 31 seats, they had set a record for the most women ever in the upper chamber.
Such modest milestones reflect a daunting political reality in Texas. While women make up more than half the state, they remain underrepresented in the halls of power. And it appears the 2016 elections will do little to change that.
With filings now closed for the state’s 2016 legislative races, the greatest possible number of women lawmakers — assuming every incumbent, challenger and long-shot woman candidate won — would be 55 of the 15o House members and 10 senators.
In the 2015 legislative session, only 36 of the 181 state legislators who served were women. Only 76 of the 333 candidates who have filed for legislative offices are women, including incumbents.
“It always hovers around 20 percent for female representation,” said Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, a public affairs and political science professor at the University of Texas at Austin. The number of women in office surged in the 1990s, she said, but growth has since halted. “There were very few women in elected office, and then it surged to where we are now. That was the good news, but I think the bad news is we’ve plateaued.”
To read more about this story go to http://www.texastribune.org/2016/01/04/campaign-filings-reflect-underrepresentation-women/?utm_campaign=2016-01-05%20Stateline%20Daily%20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua