Women make up 51% of the United States population but just 19.4% of Congress (and, of course, 0% of American presidents).
But more women than ever are working to change that statistic. The Associated Press reported Friday that an historic number of women have filed to run for the House of Representatives:
After Virginia released its candidate list Thursday, a total of 309 women from the two major parties have filed candidacy papers to run for the House. That tops the previous record of 298 in 2012.
The vast majority of women running for Congress this year are Democrats, many of whom were galvanized by Donald Trump’s presidency and the #MeToo movement.
There are any number of barriers in place that challenge women running for and winning political office, including bearing the brunt of childcare duties and a lack of connections to the political establishment that are more often afforded to male candidates. Confidence is another barrier. A 2013 American University study found that men were twice as likely as women to have considered running for office and twice as likely to say they were qualified to run for office than women were.
Along with more established groups like EMILYs List, a number of new groups encouraging women to run for office have sprung up in the past five years, including Run For Something and Senator Kristen Gillibrand’s group Off the Sidelines. Other groups include Emerge America, She Should Run, Ready to Run, IGNITE, Vote Run Lead, the National Women’s Political Caucus, and the Victory Institute, which focuses on recruiting and training LGBTQ candidates.
It’s important not to conflate having a vagina with having good politics—the Ivanka Trump brand of feminism is no feminism at all. But if you’re a woman with non-abhorrent politics, and you’ve thought about running for office, you almost certainly can’t do any worse than the bozos we’ve already got.