California women are outnumbered by men three to one in city, county and state government positions -- a figure made all the more troubling by the likelihood that the breakdown is among the most balanced in the U.S., according to a study released this week.
The study by GrassrootsLab and the Leadership California Institute, or LCI, reported that California women held 28 percent of state legislature and county government positions, and just 25 percent of city government positions. Women only near parity in school board positions, of which they comprise 47 percent.
Another study conducted by Representation 2020 in November found California had the fourth-best gender parity among U.S. states. The study's findings also included women representing the state at in national offices and assigned more weight to their positions.
“This ranking, which is calculated based on a gender parity index, is positive news and can largely be attributed to the number of women representing California at the national and state level,” the LCI wrote in its report this week. “Although California currently ranks 4th on its gender parity index, just 10 years ago, California led the rest of the nation holding rank at 1st.”
The shortage of women in city and county positions does not bode well for the state’s gender parity in the future, given the study’s findings that those positions are where 75 percent of the women currently holding office in the California State Legislature first started. The number of women holding statewide office has already plateaued, with their representation largely unchanged in the last 10 years.
“This plateau effect, coupled with an overall imbalance in the ratio of women to men serving within our political institutions, is indicative of a political reality that continues to prove tenuous for women,” the LCI wrote.