Women and Politics

Maryland State Politics

Today, 13 of 47 State Senators are women (of whom 10 of 13 are Democrats), as are 50 of 141 State House members (of whom 39 are Democrats). Maryland remains among the 22 states that have yet to elect a female governor (Kathleen Kennedy Townsend was the only female Lt. Governor in Maryland’s history, over 15 years ago). Currently, only six states have female governors nation-wide.
State-wide, Maryland is ranked 8th by the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) for the proportion of women in the state legislature. Overall, women represent 33.5% of all state-level offices, below the 2006 peak of 35.6%. This ratio is far better than neighboring states (Virginia is ranked #22, West Virginia #46, and Pennsylvania and Delaware are tied for #37)—and roughly equal to the District of Columbia (30.8%). But Maryland performs below national leaders like Vermont and Arizona (tied for #1 at 40%) and Nevada (#3 with 38%). Nationwide, only 25.4% of state delegates are women (which is nevertheless a historic high). Of note, Maryland does rank fourth for the highest percentage of women committee chairs (at 41%, vs. 48% for #1 Nevada) -- based on a 2017 analysis by CAWP. But of the 8 leadership positions in the State House and Senate, only the Speaker Pro Tempore is a woman -- based on a 2018 analysis by CAWP.  
Maryland's ranking is notably down from 2005 and 2006, when Maryland ranked 1st in the nation. The chart below tracks Maryland's ranking among the fifty states across time with regard to the share of state representatives who are women.
Ranking of Maryland State for Share of State Representatives that are Female (ranking #1 in 2005 and 2006)
In the current Montgomery County state delegation (elected in 2014), women account for 3 of the 8 State Senators (37.5%) and 9 of 24 State delegates (37.5% as well)—both slightly above the State average.
State-wide, the 2018 general election will see a record high 105 candidates for state offices, 80 Democrats and 25 Republicans. This is up from 91 in 2014, of whom 60 won their election.

Congressional Politics

Maryland is one of only 11 states without female representation in its Congressional delegation, despite the fact that women today account for the largest share of Congressional representatives in our nation's history (1 in 5). Since 1789, Maryland has had 8 women represent the state in Congress, most recently Donna Edwards (MD-4). Montgomery County has had three female Congressional representatives in its history: Democrats Katharine Edgar Byron (MD-6, 1941-43) and her daughter Beverly B. Byron (MD-6, 1979-1993)—both of whom took over the seats of deceased husbands—and most recently Republican Constance A. Morella (MD-8, 1987-2003), a founding member of the Montgomery County Commission for Women.

Montgomery County Politics

Only one of the nine incoming County Council members is female: incumbent Nancy Navarro. The prior Council had two female members, with Nancy Floreen reaching term limits and replaced by a male representative after the 2018 general election. Women do today hold all 8 Board of Education seats (up from 7 before the 2018 election), including the recently elected Student Member. Women also hold a majority (4 of 7) of the elected circuit court judges and the Clerk of Circuit Court office. However, women hold no other County-wide office -- and a woman has yet to serve as County Executive (Nancy Floreen unsuccessfully ran as an independent for the County Executive seat in the 2018 general election). Nation-wide, 21% of the largest 100 cities have a woman mayor -- including neighboring Washington DC and Baltimore. 

2018 Primary Election Deep Dive

The Status of Women report also includes a deep-dive on the results of the 2018 primaries held in Montgomery County, which was highlighted in the press for the lack of successful women candidates (particularly at the local level), in contrast to national trends. Please follow the link below to view this content.

Voter Registration

The Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (Nov 2016) reports that 69% of women are registered to vote in the State of Maryland, as compared to 66% for men -- including 76% of women who are citizens (versus 74% for men). These different rates between men and women are not statistically significant, but a few percentage points better than the national statistics. The Census reports that 68% of women citizens and 64% of male citizens voted (or 61% of all women and 57% of all men when including non-citizens). These numbers again exceed the national average by a few percentage points. Both nationally and in Maryland, Asian and Hispanic citizens have notably lower voter turnout rates than other races (55% and 59% respectively vs. a an average of 66% for all races).