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W.Va. has fewer female lawmakers than average

Charleston Daily Mail photo by Tom Hindman State Sen. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants, is the only female senator in the upper chamber of the Legislature. Boley, who was appointed to office in 1985, is used to being in the minority. At one point she was the sole Republican in the state Senate.
Charleston Daily Mail photo by Tom Hindman
State Sen. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants, is the only female senator in the upper chamber of the Legislature. Boley, who was appointed to office in 1985, is used to being in the minority. At one point she was the sole Republican in the state Senate.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Sen. Donna Boley is not afraid of being in the extreme minority.

Boley, R-Pleasants, who was once the sole Republican in the state Senate, is part of a small group of lawmakers. She is one of just three women currently serving in state senates throughout the country that are nearly entirely dominated by men.

West Virginia, Wyoming and South Carolina share the dubious distinction of having a single female lawmaker in their upper chamber.

And although the West Virginia House of Delegates has a relatively strong female presence today — 19 to be exact — many, including lawmakers, believe there should be more women sitting behind chamber desks.

Despite seeing significant gains since the 1920s, when just seven female lawmakers — four elected, three appointed — served in the West Virginia House of Delegates during a 10-year period, the number of women serving in state Legislatures has been stagnant for several years.

“Really in the last 10 years it hasn’t changed at all,” said Katie Ziegler, program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Women’s Legislative Network.

This year, women currently have about 24 percent of the 7,383 total state legislative seats available throughout the nation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures…

 

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