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Five Fast Facts: Women and the 2012 Election

As part of our ongoing series featuring five fast facts from experts in the College of Urban and Public Affairs, this month Sunny Petit, Director of the Center for Women, Politics & Policy shares five fast facts about women and the recent elections, including Oregon's ranking nationally for women in power.
  1. Women now hold 20% of seats in the US Congress- a record. The US ranks 79th worldwide in the number of women in national legislatures.
  2. Newest US Congressional class includes many firsts: first openly gay Senator (Tammy Baldwin), first Hindu (Tulsi Gabbard), first Asian American in the Senate (Mazie Hirono), and first disabled Congresswoman (Tammy Duckworth) In Oregon: first female Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, first openly gay Speaker of the House (and in the country) Tina Kotek, first Latina elected to the Oregon House (Jessica Vega Pederson).
  3. 12 women (in 12 states) will take the gavel as State Senate presidents or speakers of State houses in 2013.
  4. Oregon ranks 15th in country for women in power (based on 27.8% in state legislature). Colorado ranks 1st at 41% and Louisiana 50th at 11.1%.
  5. Out of 50 states, only 5 have women serving as Governor (one of the routes to executive office in the White House).
Sunny Petit is the Executive Director for the Center for Women, Politics, and Policy.  Prior to joining the Center for Women, Politics, and Policy, Sunny was Regional Director for a counter-human trafficking organization in South Asia and ran programs in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. She is a recipient of the Tokyo Foundation's International Trade and Development Fellowship for research on women's political development in Turkey. She currently serves on the Oregon Commission for Women and is a member of the Oregon Council on Civil Rights.