Gender disparities in American politics weren’t upended by the 2018 election, but representation by women increased – particularly among Democrats.
A new report from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University studied women candidates from 2018 to offer insight into the 2020 election cycle. And two of Maryland’s 2018 gubernatorial candidates were highlighted.
Krishanti Vignarajah (D) was highlighted as a candidate who drew upon her gender as an asset and not a hurdle to overcome. Vignarajah “unapologetically identified as a woman and a mother in her first campaign ad,” which included images of her breastfeeding, the report noted.
Then-state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D) “challenged heteronormative conceptions of masculinity” in an ad which featured his husband and children.
The report, Unfinished Business: Women Running in 2018 and Beyond, looks at ways candidates from state legislatures to the presidential race are navigating gendered terrain.
While Maryland has had only two women elected to statewide office – former U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D) and former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D) – the state ranks highly for representation by women in the Legislature.
The 2018 election yielded the most diverse General Assembly in state history, and Maryland was ranked seventh in the country for the number of women in the Legislature at the start of 2019. Since then, two women have replaced men in the House of Delegates.