Running Women
The Drive to Elect More Women in 2018

This year, women are seeking U.S. elected offices in numbers never seen before, many groomed by reenergized female-founded organizations dedicated to putting more women in America’s halls of power. Will demands for full parity in society, fanned by the #MeToo movement, sweep these candidates into office? If so, 2018 could be a very big election year for American women.

Will 2018 be the New “Year of the Woman” in American Politics?

Activated American women are signing up in surprising numbers to run for offices at every level of government in every corner of the country. In the 2018 midterm general elections, 262 women are seeking seats in Congress, up from 181 in 2016, and 42 are on ballots for governor and lieutenant governor, up from just 8 in 2016, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. When women run, they win just as often as their male peers — which means their outsized presence on ballots could make 2018 a historic year for women in electoral politics. But will 2018 outshine 1992, the celebrated “Year of the Woman,” when the number women in Congress doubled?

TIMELINE: The Movement to Get More Women into U.S. Politics

Led first by luminaries of the women’s movement, a drive to get more women into halls of political power has tackled social obstacles, campaign financing and candidate preparation. A stream of female firsts in U.S. politics has followed, and the number of women in elected offices has grown. But equal representation remains elusive.