Pa. Ranks 39th in Female Legislators

Women make up just 18 percent of the General Assembly.

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PennLive reports that with just 45 female members in the 253-member General Assembly, Pennsylvania ranks 39th in the nation for its percentage of female legislators.

Trying to put a positive spin on the situation, Sen. Pat Vance, R-Cumberland County, the senior member of the midstate’s women delegation who has served in the Legislature since 1990, said she has seen signs of progress over her public service career.

When a woman wins an office, it is no longer as much of a curiosity as it was when she ran for recorder of deeds in Cumberland County in 1978, becoming the first woman in that county to win an elective office at the courthouse.

“That shows growth and maturity,” Vance said. “We’ve progressed a little past that. Is it perfect? No, not by far.”

One other sign of (slow) progress: The 45 women in the Pennsylvania Legislature is actually a record number. “In 1975, there was only one woman serving in the Senate and eight in the House compared to today’s 36 in the House and nine in the Senate.”