Secretary of State
More Kentucky Women Elected to Office than Ever Before, Still Trails the Country in Representation
(Frankfort, KY) Kentucky women continue to increase their numbers in elected office, although the Commonwealth still trails the rest of the country according to a report issued today by Secretary of State Trey Grayson. The report is an update of the 2005 Report Opening Doors of Opportunity: Empowering and Inspiring Kentucky Women to Public Service, following the 2006 elections – the largest ballot in Kentucky’s history.
“With a record number of races on the ballot in 2006, Kentuckians had a tremendous opportunity to increase the number of women elected to office across the Commonwealth,” remarked Secretary Grayson. “While we made some significant gains, there is still much work to do to bring our state up to par with others around the country. Unfortunately, we have lost ground in two short years in comparison to others.”
2007 has been a particularly strong year for women in Kentucky. For the first time in the state’s history, there are two women sitting on the Kentucky Supreme Court. The University of Kentucky also recently elected its first female Board of Trustees chair. The three women are featured prominently on the cover of the 2007 report.
The report documented that women experienced gains in their representation in the state house of representatives, county clerk, circuit clerk, county attorney, and county coroner positions. Kentucky women saw a decrease in their numbers in Congress, judge executives, county property valuation administrators, and county jailers. Kentucky also dropped to 49th in the nation for the number of women holding office in the state legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2005, Kentucky was 48th.
Perhaps the most progress was seen in the judicial system where Kentucky now boasts two women on the Supreme Court, and increases at the Court of Appeals, Circuit Court, and District Court levels. Kentucky’s courts now boast 32.6% female representation on the bench. Kentucky women make up 50.9% of the population according to 2005 U.S Census estimate.
In addition to statistics about the progress of Kentucky women being elected to office, the report provides a number of resources to help women position themselves to be effective leaders in their communities. It includes a database of female elected officials from across the Commonwealth.
The report features sections on former Governor Martha Layne Collins, State Auditor of Public Accounts Crit Luallen, President Pro-tempore of the Kentucky Senate Katie Stine, and Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Mary Noble. First Lady Glenna Fletcher also contributed to the report with recommendations for getting involved in the community.
"My hope is that this report will not only spur much needed attention to the deficient number of women that Kentuckians have placed into elected positions, but will also provide future leaders with the resources they need to run for office," Grayson said as he spoke with students at the announcement. "We must take a more proactive approach to get qualified women to run for office."
The report follows upon a similar version commissioned under former Secretary of State Bob Babbage's administration in 1995. Grayson noted that he hoped future Secretaries would examine this issue during their administrations as well.
The report can be accessed via the Office of the Secretary of State's website at http://www.sos.ky.gov/secdesk/initiatives/women.htm.
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