Giving Compass' Take:
- This Rachel's Action Network article explains the importance of electing women to Congress who support environmental protections.
- What are the intersections of gender equity and environmental justice? How can you support diverse women leaders in the fight to protect our planet?
- Read more about gender equity and the environment.
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In 2022, women hold a record 145 seats in Congress. Despite major gains in the past decade, women are still significantly underrepresented in federal policymaking. By some estimates, it could take a century at our current rate for our legislature to achieve equal representation.
Statistics conveyed by organizations like the Center for American Women in Politics and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research highlight this disparity: women comprise roughly 51 percent of the population and 53 percent of the electorate but only 27 percent of Congress. Women are not the only constituency impacted by unequal representation – our entire policymaking process suffers.
Since 2000, Rachel’s Network has made the case that gender disparity in government not only stymies equality, it has serious implications for environmental policy as well.
Research in the European Journal of Political Economy found that female representation in national legislatures leads countries to adopt more stringent climate change policies. 91 countries were included in the study.
Similarly, a 2019 study in the Journal of Environmental Politics and a 2019 study in the Review of Policy Research both found that women in Western parliaments were more likely to support environmental legislation than men.
In previous iterations of our report When Women Lead (in 2003 and 2011), we analyzed the voting records of federal legislators going back to 1983 using League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Environmental Scorecard data. We found that women in Congress vote for legislation supporting clean air, clean water, renewable energy, climate action, and public health much more often than their male counterparts (and similarly vote more often against legislation that would roll back these protections).
This update brings our analysis up to the present and looks further into the past. After comparing annual LCV scores each year from 1972-2021, we again found that women legislators vote for environmental protections more often than their male counterparts in both the House and Senate.
Read the full article about Congresswomen and environmental protections at Rachel's Action Network.