New Research Explores the Barriers Women Face in Seeking Higher Office

Washington, DC-A new report released by Political Parity, a nonpartisan program of Hunt Alternatives, finds that women in politics often encounter a series of structural and social roadblocks that make it difficult to navigate a road to higher office. The findings in the report draw on insights from focus groups and in-depth interviews conducted by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) and polling of female state legislators by Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting.

Women hold fewer than 20 percent of seats in Congress and just 5 of 50 governorships. Women's ascent to high office has slowed rather than accelerated in the past decade. If current trends continue, IWPR projects that women will not hold an equal number of seats in Congress until 2121.

Findings from IWPR's qualitative study outline the challenges faced by women candidates and office holders, including sexual harassment from their male colleagues, donors, and voters, and a demanding work schedule, which often requires them to hold multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet.

IWPR's study outlines several recommendations for making systemic change so that more women are recruited to run and are then supported throughout their political careers.

The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies.

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