By Katie Ziegler
With the appointment of two women, Beatrice Duran and Rochelle Nguyen, to fill vacant seats in the State Assembly, the Nevada Legislature made history Dec. 18 by becoming the first state legislature to have a majority of female members.
The new appointments bring the total number of women in the Assembly to 23 of the 42 members. There are nine women in the Senate, for a combined total of 32 out of 63 legislators.
Prior to these appointments, the Nevada Assembly was already noteworthy, as it had 50 percent female members following November’s election.
Colorado is the only other state with parity in a chamber, as its state House will be 50 percent women, too. This has happened only once before in any state, when the New Hampshire Senate had a majority of women in 2009-2010. The U.S. territory of Guam broke records this election, too, and its Legislature will be two-thirds women next year.
These individual state examples are part of the larger story this election, which is that women joined state legislatures in unprecedented numbers.
The nationwide share of women legislators will be 28.3 percent in 2019, an increase of three percentage points over 2018. Most states saw their number of female legislators increase, many by five percentage points or more.
At least 14 women will serve as the presiding officer of a chamber next year, an increase from nine female presiding officers in 2018. Keep following NCSL for updated information about women in leadership coming in January.
Katie Ziegler is the program manager of NCSL's Women's Legislative Network.