By Sarah Kliff and Soo Oh
Overall, the American legislature is disproportionately dominated by men. And this isn’t the case when you look at America’s peer countries. In Nordic countries like Finland and Sweden, women make up just over 40 percent of the legislature. And even the Canadian legislature is 26 percent female — compared with 19.4 percent here.
Women’s representation in Congress has gone up over the past century, usually increasing around 1 to 2 percentage point every two years when Congress begins a new session. But the pace of change has been painfully slow , especially compared with other countries.
“We calculated this at some point, and at the same rate we’re going, it would take about 100 years to get an equal share of women in Congress,” says Heidi Hartmann, an economist who runs the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. “It would be nice if we could do it faster than that.”