The National Conference of State Legislatures has developed an interesting interactive demographic map that allows you to examine the makeup of each state’s legislature by ethnicity, gender, age, religion and occupation and compare those figures to national averages. Oklahoma’s most notable, and unfortunate, variation from national demographic patterns is in the gender makeup of our Legislature. As Jean Warner, who runs the excellent Oklahoma Women’s Network Blog, never tires of reminding us, Oklahoma ranks behind only South Carolina in female representation in the Legislature. Only 11 percent of Oklahoma’s 149 members of the House and Senate are women; this is less than half the national average of 24 percent. In Vermont and New Hampshire, over one-third of state legislators are women. (This 2008 American Prospect article by Harold Meyerson provides perceptive insights on the regional variations in female officeholders).
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