Women make up one quarter of state legislatures around the Unites States, but it can trend closer to a 50-50 balance between the genders this November, The New York Times reported.
Nevada, for instance, saw a record number of women winning primaries in June and might become the first in the U.S. to have more women than men, according to the report. Nationally, women would need to win 1,816 state legislature seats this November to be equally represented with men, which would require doubling their current total.
"It makes a difference to have women in office," Rutgers University's Center for American Women scholar Kelly Dittmar told the Times. "Women bring different policy priorities to the table."
There have historically been more men in politics because of a "gender gap in political ambition," according to American University's Women & Politics Institute Director, Dr. Jennifer Lawless, per the Times. Turning the tide requires some upsets of incumbent men being replaced by aspiring women, though.
"The power of incumbency is so, so strong, particularly at the state level," National Conference of State Legislatures program manager Katie Ziegler told the Times. "It's rare for an incumbent to lose their seat."
There is also a partisan wave to be overcome. Women comprise 37 percent of Democratic state seats, while just 17 percent of Republicans are women.
"As long as women's electoral fortunes are linked to the success of the Democratic Party, it makes it difficult to get past that 25 percent mark," Dr. Lawless told the Times. "It makes it linked to how well that side of the aisle is doing."
Lawless added the GOP is more of a "pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps" party that does not focus on activism for specific groups.
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