Meredith College has released a new report examining women as voters and office holders in North Carolina. The 2018 Status of Women in North Carolina Politics report, released on October 17, is an update on the College’s initial 2015 report on the topic.
Since the last Status of Women in North Carolina Politics report, women have gained and lost ground in terms of elected and appointed positions. North Carolina has approximately 5,000 elected positions and almost an equal number of appointed positions at the state and local level. Women hold less than a quarter of all elected positions and around a third of all appointed positions. At the elected level, this is a slight decline over 2015.
There are bright spots for women in North Carolina politics:
- Women are serving as mayors of its three largest cities: Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh.
- Republican women in the North Carolina legislature are at record levels.
- The percentage of women serving in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches is higher than the national average for women serving in those positions.
Despite these positives, there are many aspects to women in North Carolina politics that are negative:
- The percentage of women candidates running in 2018, as compared to 2014, is lower.
- The number of counties in which the board of county commissioners has no women serving has increased from 44 to 46 counties.
- The rural parts of the state, which have been particularly less represented by women in elected office, have lost ground.
The Status of Women in North Carolina Politics report was produced by Professor of Political Science David McLennan, who has nearly 20 years of experience researching, teaching, and advocating for women in politics. He worked with a team of student researchers on the report.
“Women make up 51.4 percent of the population in North Carolina and almost 54 percent of the voters in the state,” McLennan said. “These demographic data points might make many citizens think women are going to start making headway on the gender disparity that has existed between men and women officeholders. However, North Carolina remains a male-dominated state in terms of officeholders and candidates, especially in rural areas.”
The Status of Women in North Carolina Politics report is part of Meredith College’s commitment to being a leading source of information on women’s issues in the state.
About Meredith College
Chartered in 1891, Meredith College opened with just over 200 women. Today, our student body has grown to nearly 2,000, and includes men at the graduate level. Meredith challenges students to explore their interests, expand their skills, and build on their strengths. At 127 years and counting, Meredith College is still going strong.