After decades of struggle, American women earned constitutional protection of the right to vote in 1920 with the passage of the 19th amendment. A century later, women face a new challenge: equality in government. With men holding 82% of U.S. House seats, the United States ranks 92nd for the percentage of women in its national legislature. This disparity exists on all levels of government. Women hold a mere five governorships, less than a quarter of state legislative seats and are mayors in only 12 of our 100 largest cities.
Recognizing this representation deficit and how little improvement there has been over the past 20 years, FairVote's Representation 2020 initiative promotes an ambitious vision of securing a national commitment to achieving gender parity in elected office by the 2020 centennial of the 19th amendment. Our unique contribution to the goal of gender equality in U.S. politics is our research and outreach on two essential structural changes: new party rules to ensure parties recruit and nominate more women candidates and adoption of fair voting plans to increase opportunities for women to run in and win legislative elections.