Secretary of State
More Kentucky Women Elected to Office than Ever Before, More Progress is Needed
(Frankfort, KY) Kentucky women continue to increase their numbers in elected office, although the Commonwealth still trails the rest of the country according to a report issued today by Secretary of State Trey Grayson. Today is the 89th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution which affirms a woman’s right to vote. The report is an update of the 2005 and 2007 editions of Opening Doors of Opportunity: Empowering and Inspiring Kentucky Women to Public Service, following the 2008 election.
“With several races on the ballot in 2008, Kentuckians had the opportunity to increase the number of women elected to office across the Commonwealth,” remarked Secretary Grayson. “While we made some significant gains, there is still much work to do to bring our state up to par with others around the country. However, we have made up ground in comparison to other states.”
The report documented that women experienced gains in their representation in the state senate, state house of representatives, Kentucky Court of Appeals, district court judges, county judge/executives, county clerks, and county property valuation administrator positions.
Kentucky women saw a decrease in their numbers in only circuit judges and circuit clerks. Kentucky also rose to 45th in the nation for the number of women holding office in the state legislature, according to the Center for American Women in Politics. In 2007, Kentucky was 49th. Kentucky’s House and Senate are comprised of 15.0% and 15.8% women, respectively.
In addition to statistics about the progress of Kentucky women being elected to office, the report provides a number of resources to help women position themselves to be effective leaders in their communities. It includes a database of female elected officials from across the Commonwealth.
The report features sections on former Governor Martha Layne Collins, State Auditor of Public Accounts Crit Luallen, President Pro-tempore of the Kentucky Senate Katie Stine, Mayor of Richmond Connie Lawson and Kentucky Supreme Court Justices Mary Noble and Lisabeth Hughes Abramson.
"My hope is that this report will not only spur much needed attention to the low number of women that Kentuckians have placed into elected positions, but will also provide future leaders with the resources they need to run for office," Grayson said. "We must take a more proactive approach to get qualified women to run for office."
The report follows upon a similar version commissioned under former Secretary of State Bob Babbage's administration in 1995. Kentucky has made significant improvement since that initial report. For instance, only 10.9% of the judiciary were women in 1995 compared to 32.5% today. Kentucky has increased women in nearly every single political office since 1995.
Grayson expressed his hope that future Secretaries will examine this issue during their administrations, as well.
The report can be accessed via the Office of the Secretary of State's website at http://www.sos.ky.gov/secdesk/initiatives/women.htm.
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