Women and Politics

Maryland State Politics

In November of 2018, 13 of 47 state Senators were women, as were 50 of 141 State House members. Maryland remains among the 20 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 nationwide.
Maryland is ranked 8th among all states for the proportion of women in the state legislature according to the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP). Overall, women represent nearly 34 percent of all state level offices, below the 2006 peak of nearly 36 percent. This ratio is far better than neighboring states: Virginia is ranked 22nd, West Virginia 46th, and Pennsylvania and Delaware are tied for 37th. It is roughly equal to the District of Columbia (31 percent).
But Maryland performs below national leaders like Vermont and Arizona who are tied for first at 40 percent) and Nevada, which ranked third with 38 percent. Nationwide, only 25 percent of state delegates are women, which is nevertheless a historic high. Of note, Maryland does rank fourth highest for the percentage of women committee chairs (at 41 percent, vs. 48 percent for Nevada in first place) -- based on a 2017 analysis by CAWP. But of the eight leadership positions in the State House and Senate, only the Speaker Pro Tempore is a woman -- based on a 2018 analysis by CAWP.  These statistics are expected to improve in 2019, with women holding three key leadership positions in the house and senate: Kathleen Dumais as Majority Leader in the House, Kathy Klausmeier as President Pro Tem in the Senate, and Adrienne Jones as Speaker Pro Tem in the House.  
Notably, Maryland used to be ranked first in the nation for women representation in both 2005 and 2006. The state's ranking has dropped a number of places since then, fluctuating between 7th and 10th among all states.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 Montgomery County state delegation elected in 2014, women accounted for three of the eight state Senators (37.5 percent) and nine of 24 state delegates (37.5 percent as well)—both slightly above the state average. The 2018 election led to an increase in the representation of women among the county's state delegates, with women now accounting for exactly half (12) of the county's 24 state delegates.
Statewide, the 2018 general election had a record high 105 women candidates for state offices. This is up from 91 females who ran in 2014, 60 of whom won their election.

Congressional Politics

Maryland is one of only 11 states without female representation in its Congressional delegation, even though women account for the largest share of Congressional representatives in our nation's history (1 in 5). Since 1789, Maryland has selected eight women to represent the state in the House of Representatives, most recently Donna Edwards (CD-4). Recently retired US Senator Barbara Mikulski is the only woman to have held this office from the State of Maryland. Montgomery County has selected three female members of the House of Representatives in its history. They were Democrats Katharine Edgar Byron (CD-6, 1941-43) and her daughter Beverly B. Byron (CD-6, 1979-1993)—both of whom took over the seats of deceased husbands—and most recently Republican Constance A. Morella (CD-8, 1987-2003), a founding member of the Montgomery County Commission for Women.

Montgomery County Politics

As of the 2018 general election, only one of the nine incoming County Council members is female: incumbent Nancy Navarro. The prior County Council had two female members, which included Nancy Navarro and Nancy Floreen, who was prevented from running again by term limits and was replaced by a male representative after the 2018 general election. Women hold all eight Board of Education seats (up from seven before the 2018 election), including the recently elected Student Member. Women also hold a majority (four of seven) of the elected circuit court judges and the Clerk of Circuit Court office. However, women hold no other countywide 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). Nationwide, 21 percent of the most populous 100 cities in the United States have a woman mayor -- including neighboring Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD. 

2018 Primary Election Deep Dive

The Status of Women report also includes a deep dive on the results of Montgomery County's 2018 primaries, which the press highlighted for its lack of successful women candidates (particularly at the local level). This result contrasted with 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 percent of women are registered to vote in Maryland, in comparison to 66 percent of men -- including 76 percent of women who are citizens (versus 74 percent of men). These registration rates are slightly higher than the national average.
The Census reports that 68 percent of female citizens and 64 percent of male citizens voted (or 61 percent of all women and 57 percent of all men when including non-citizens). These numbers also exceed the national average by a few percentage points. Both in Maryland and nationally, Asian and Hispanic citizens have notably lower voter turnout rates than other races (55 percent and 59 percent respectively vs. a an average of 66 percent for all races).