CWPPP Research: Only 1 in 4 Massachusetts Legislators are Women

Office of Communications | November 14, 2016
CWPPP Research: Only 1 in 4 Massachusetts Legislators are Women

Massachusetts voters elected 52 women to the state Legislature on Tuesday, a 1 percent increase over the current rate of female representation, according to research by the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. Currently, just one in four Bay State legislators is female, putting Massachusetts behind other New England states in the election of women to state legislative office. Of the 49 women presently serving in the Legislature, 12 are in the Senate and 37 are members of the House.    

In January 2017, 26 percent of all legislators will be female, including five women of color--2.5 percent of the total. The rate of women in the Legislature has not risen substantially since the 1992 election, when it increased from 18.5 to 23 percent. The number has hovered around 25 percent since 2000.

“Massachusetts’ record of electing women to state legislative office is disappointing. We need to propel more women—particularly women of color and minority women—into office to increase the diversity of perspectives and voices on Beacon Hill,” said Ann Bookman, director of the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy.

Among the statistics highlighted in the CWPPP fact sheet:

- 72 women ran for legislative office across the commonwealth in the general election, up from 68 in the last presidential election year.
When the next session begins, 25 percent of the House and 30 percent of the Senate will be comprised of women.
- Of the two newly elected women of color, Juana B. Matias, who migrated from the Dominican Republic as a child, will represent the 16th Essex (Lawrence), and Chynah Tyler, born and raised in Roxbury, will represent the 7th Suffolk (Roxbury, Dorchester, Fenway) and replace Representative Gloria Fox, the longest-serving woman in the legislature, in office since 1985.

About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s nine colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit

Tags: center for women in politics and public policy , cwppp , election 2016 , mccormack graduate school

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