When you hear that South Carolina elected a woman of Indian decent as governor your initial reaction might be to consider how progressive we are as a state.
Not so fast!
Despite Haley's historic win last week, South Carolina still ranks dead last when it comes to electing females to state office. In fact, about half of the states had elected a female governor before S.C.
There's a decent statewide story circulating regarding where S.C. stands in terms of the number of women in the House and Senate. You can check it out here.
But here is the important info you really need to know:
- Women make up 51.3 percent of the state’s population but less than 14 percent of the state House membership and 10 percent of the entire Legislature.
- S.C. is 50th out of 50 when it comes to electing female lawmakers.
- The S.C. Senate will continue to be without a female member.
So what's the Beaufort angle?
Well believe it or not Beaufort continues to buck this trend.
For instance, take District 124 of the S.C. House of Representatives.
District 124 represents most of Beaufort, Port Royal and the Sea Islands. Four of the last five people to hold that seat, including the current Rep. Shannon Erickson, are female (the others are Edie Rodgers, Catherine Ceips and Harriet Keyserling.)
Want another example?
Well like I said the S.C. Senate likely will go another term without a female member, but for a short period there Beaufort sent Ceips up to the Senate when she won a special election after Scott Richardson vacated his seat to become S.C. Director of Insurance.
Ceips has since lost the seat to Tom Davis.
It's clear S.C. still has a ways to go before being able to claim that it's progressive when it comes to electing women, but it's nice to see that Beaufort leads the way.
Want more info?
Here's the most recent Rutgers report and ranking in terms of the percentage of women holding state office. As you'll see S.C. is indeed 50th out of 50.
The report is posted to the National Foundation for Women Legislators website where you can find more info.