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Women rule in the Utah Legislature’s Democratic caucus

Politics » But overall number of female lawmakers on the decline.

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"Somehow we have morphed to this place where we are — where our elected officials do not represent the same thing. I think our pioneer foremothers would be mightily surprised with the makeup of our legislative bodies," said Edwards.

A participant in Real Women Run, Edwards says the gender gap does make a difference.

At a glance

Gender gap between the parties

Utah isn’t alone in seeing women making far greater gains in the Democratic Party than in the GOP.

Of the 1,783 women state legislators across the nation, 63.6 percent are Democrats, 35.6 percent are Republicans (there are a handful of third-party and nonpartisan members), according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In the U.S. Congress, a record 97 women now serve in the 535-member body. Democratic women outnumber Republican women by more than 3 to 1, according to Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics.

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"We see that even in a political environment that it further removes women from feeling like they have a voice in the issues," Edwards says. "It matters for public involvement in issues. It’s difficult for women to feel like this is a relevant place for their voice to be heard when there is not a real presence by women on the Hill."

Dan Harrie contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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