Glass Ceiling Keeps Women From Political Careers in Pennsylvania - NBC 10 Philadelphia
Relentless pursuit of the truth

SEND TIPS610-949-7473

Glass Ceiling Keeps Women From Political Careers in Pennsylvania

Glass Ceiling Keeping Women From Political Careers

Women make up more than half of Pennsylvania's population, but the NBC10 Investigators found in the state females don't have the same leadership opportunities as men. (Published Thursday, April 23, 2015)

Pennsylvania elects fewer women to public office than almost anywhere in the United States according to data obtained by the NBC10 Investigators.

Women make up 55% of Pennsylvania's population but only comprise 17.8% of the state legislature.

The state has never elected a female governor or a woman to the United States Senate.

And men make up the entire 20-member congressional delegation for the Commonwealth.

“If a young woman or particularly a young girl looks at politicians they don’t see a lot of people who look like them, still," Director of the Center for Women and Politics at Rutgers University Debbie Walsh said.

Walsh tracks how successful women are at getting elected to public office.

“New Jersey and Pennsylvania have pretty strong gatekeepers," she said. "The parties play a pretty powerful role in who runs for office.”

The state Democratic and Republican parties offer candidate training no matter the gender of the candidate.

"I don’t think women are given the same opportunity to walk through the same doors as men," PA state Democratic Party executive director Diane Bowman said.

“I think each district has its own story," State Republican Communications Director Megan Sweeney said. “I think that’s what we’re working on right now.”

Both parties say they are interested in qualified candidates no matter their gender.