Number of women serving in Florida Legislature jumped this year

But nationwide, women are still short of equal representation in statehouses compared to men, a new report shows.

Advocates for 'bodily autonomy' march to the Florida Capitol to protest a bill before the Florida legislature to limit abortions on Feb. 16, 2022 in Tallahassee.

Advocates for 'bodily autonomy' march to the Florida Capitol to protest a bill before the Florida legislature to limit abortions on Feb. 16, 2022 in Tallahassee. Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

More women are expected to serve in state legislatures next year than ever before. 

Based on this fall’s election results, at least 2,376 women will serve in state legislatures, surpassing 2022’s record of 2,307, according to a new report from the Center for American Women and Politics, part of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey. 

That figure includes women who won races in November and those whose seats were not up for reelection, but the total count could still change. As of Tuesday, 59 women were in races that were too close to call, and there are other reasons why results can change between Election Day and inauguration, the report said.

In Florida, the number of women in the Legislature increased by 10 overall, from 56 to 66, entirely driven by this year's "red wave" in the Sunshine State. And for only the third time in its history, the Florida Senate is led by a woman: Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican. 

Related story – Death of a swing state: How Florida lost its purple and embraced its red

In Florida, state lawmakers are considered to take office upon election. A constitutionally mandated "organization session" was held last month in which new legislators were ceremonially sworn in. And one of the newest state senators, Miami-Dade Republican Alexis Calatayud, was named chair of the Community Affairs Committee on Monday. 

Nationally, of those expected to be in office in January, 1,560 are Democrats and 795 are Republicans. Eighteen are not affiliated with a party, two are independents and one is progressive. 

Despite the gains, women are still far from holding an equal share of seats compared to men. While securing more representation in both state senates and houses, women will still hold only about 29% of state senate seats and 33% of state house seats. 

The net increase of women in Congress following November’s elections will likely fall short of those in 2018, when 117 women won office

Related story – Meet the Class of 2022: South Florida's newest lawmakers head to Tallahassee

However, in some states, majorities in state legislative chambers will be women. With the latest election cycle, women will make up more than half of the Colorado state Legislature, making it the second state to hit that milestone. Nevada became the first after the 2018 elections. 

At least four chambers will also have women majorities: both chambers in Nevada, as well as state houses in Colorado and New Mexico. In Arizona and New Hampshire, women will make up exactly half of state senates, the report found.  

To read the full report and see a state-by-state breakdown of women in state legislatures, click here.

Molly Bolan is the assistant editor for Route Fifty, where a version of this story was first published. 

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