Dear supporters, allies, and friends:
We’re writing to you today with some very exciting news from the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP). We are proud to announce the launch today of the online CAWP Women Elected Officials Database, a new tool for exploring and analyzing women’s current and historical representation in the U.S. political system. This tool expands on the officeholder database that CAWP has long kept and shared with researchers, and, crucially, transforms it into a searchable, online format for public access. It contains entries for more than eleven thousand women officeholders dating back to 1893 when the first woman was elected to statewide executive office.
Providing a public online database represents the fulfillment of a long-held ambition of the Center for American Women and Politics. Open availability of these data helps all of us understand more thoroughly women’s role in our country’s political history and creates opportunities for new research and programs addressing the lack of parity in women’s representation.
This online database is the first of its kind and represents the most complete collection of information anywhere in the world about women officeholders in the United States. It includes women officeholders nationwide, their officeholding history, party identification, and, when available, information about their race and ethnicity. The data are searchable by year(s), position, level of office, state, party, and officeholder race and ethnicity. Users will also benefit from summary statistics and data visualizations generated from their searches. Search results are shareable and downloadable, with options to save searches for future reference and to export data in multiple formats.
We have to commend the incredible staff of the Center, and in particular our data services manager, Chelsea Hill, for the completion of this enormous undertaking. The construction of this database required thousands of hours to collect, organize, and fact-check data while populating it into a user interface that is designed to make this data accessible to a wide variety of audiences. We are also grateful for the vision and support of our research from Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company founded by Melinda Gates.
On June 29th at 1pm ET, we will host a live webinar to demonstrate the database’s applications for use by journalists, scholars, activists, and other stakeholders and answer questions about its development and functionality. Register to attend here.
When the Center was established nearly 50 years ago, our founders were told that there wasn’t anything to study when it comes to women and American politics. Half a century later, we’re still delighted to prove them wrong. We hope you will find the CAWP Women Elected Officials Database to be useful and illuminating – we look forward to seeing the many ways in which scholars, journalists, activists, and our other stakeholders use this important new tool.
All the best,
Debbie Walsh
Center for American Women and Politics
Jean Sinzdak
Associate Director
Center for American Women and Politics
Center for American Women and Politics
Eagleton Institute of Politics
Rutgers University | New Brunswick
191 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8557
(848) 932-9384 – Fax: (732) 932-6778