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Women Represent Less than 40 Percent of California City Council Members According to New Study

August 28, 2014
Despite statistical gains made nationally for women in elected office, the number of women in California serving in elected office, particularly on city councils, does not reflect California's female population, according to a report released jointly by California Women Lead and the Women's Caucus of the League of California Cities.
The report shows a continued need for increased representation by elected women on city councils across the state.

The report, entitled "Snapshot on the Status of Women in City Government," reveals that the number of California women serving on city councils is not as high as one would suspect, and did not mirror the gains women made in other parts of the country.

According to the report, which will be updated following the November election, just 706 women serve on California city councils, making up only 39 percent of the elected seats. Significant statistics from the study include:
  • Women comprise 50.3 percent of California’s population, but only 39 percent of city council seats;
  • 61 cities in California have a women majority council;
  • 71 cities have no women on the council;
  • 40 percent of cities have only one woman on the council;
  • Of the 12 highest populated cities in the state, Riverside does not have any women on the council; and Los Angeles, Fresno and Bakersfield have only one woman. 
To help counter the apparent lack of parity for California women running for — and being elected to — local and state office, California Women Lead conducts workshops with the goal of focusing attention on the need for the effective leadership that women uniquely provide, whether it's serving on a school board, as a county supervisor, as a state legislator, or in the halls of Congress; and to offer support and guidance to those women who respond to the call for effective leadership that is so desperately needed.
For questions about the report, contact Rachel Michelin at (916) 501-3074.

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