A record was set in the Texas Capitol last January when eight women held seats in the upper chamber of the Senate floor. While these eight women were still greatly outnumbered- there were 31 seats in total, 23 of them still held by men, they had set a record. On that momentous day, the most women ever filled the upper chamber.
And, while that record might not seem like much at all, it is something, especially in the sad political reality that is modern-day Texas. Women represent over half of the state, but unfortunately, their vast numbers are not accurately or fairly represented where it matters. What’s even sadder than this unfortunate fact is the fact that it doesn’t look like this year’s coming elections are going to make any difference to underrepresented women in the state.
At most, at the end of this year’s races, 55 women would take spots among the 150 house member and 10 senator seats available, and even that small number is not likely. Only 36 women served in the Texas legislative session last year, and, in fact, only 76 out of 333 candidates who have filed for legislative office were women. Obviously, women are severely underrepresented in the state of Texas- some would say throughout the United States as a whole- and little is being done about this grave problem.
There have been “growth spurts,” so to speak, among women in office in the past, with many more filing, though still relatively few have actually been elected into their desired positions. In the 90s, there was a big increase of women in power or attempting to come into power, but that number has slowly gone down, and as mentioned, there doesn’t seem to be any hope of real change on the horizon.
In fact, the changes that are currently in store are negative in terms of female representation. Women are definitely going to lose one seat, maybe more, in the Texas House simply for the fact that no female candidates are seeking the Denton seat that is being given up this year by Republican state representative Myra Crownover, who is retiring. Women could, however, gain a seat in the senate, but the chances don’t look good. Many women filed to be primary and general election challengers in Texas, but none of them filed for candidacy in the open House seats. In fact, it seems that every time women make start to make strides in the Texas political arena, the number droops down again, a disturbing trend.
It’s hard to really pinpoint blame for this problem. Legislators and politicians point to a variety of problems, including not enough recruitment of women, legislative maps mostly benefiting incumbent men rather than women, women being less likely to seek office without being asked to run, and just general inequality in the political realm.
The one positive thing, however, is that if some specific problems can be pinpointed, that means that solutions can be pinpointed as well, so hopefully, people will start figuring out these solutions and getting more women into positions of power, where they rightfully belong, at least just as much as their male counterparts.