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Professor gives presentation on women in politics

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David McLennan, political science professor at Meredith College, stands with League of Women Voters Twin Counties board members, from left, Pat Adams, Heidi Flythe, Valerie Steel and Melanie Goff Bradley.

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From Contributed Reports

Saturday, March 9, 2019

David McLennan, professor of political science at Meredith College, was the guest speaker for the League of Women Voters Twin Counties on Feb. 18.

The topic of McLennan’s presentation was “Women in Politics: 2019 and Beyond.” He also gave a 2018 update to “The Status of Women in Politics in North Carolina” published in 2015.

According to the last Status of Women in North Carolina Politics report, women have gained and lost ground in terms of elected and appointed positions. North Carolina has approximately 5,000 elected positions and almost an equal number of appointed positions at the state and local level. Women hold less than a quarter of all elected positions and around a third of all appointed positions.

At the elected level, this is a slight decline from 2015.There are bright spots for women in North Carolina politics:

■ Women are serving as mayors of its three largest cities: Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh.

■ Republican women in the state legislature are at record levels.

■ The percentage of women serving in the executive, legislative and judicial branches is higher than the national average.

Despite these positives, there are many aspects to women in North Carolina politics that are negative:

■ The percentage of women candidates running in 2018, as compared to 2014 is lower.

■ The number of counties in which the board of county commissioners has no women serving has increased from 44 to 46 counties.

■ The rural parts of the state, which have been particularly less represented by women in elected office, have lost ground

“Woman make up 51.4 percent of the population in North Carolina and almost 54 percent of the voters in the state,”Mc Lennan said. “These demographic data points might make many citizens think women are going to start making headway on the gender disparity that has existed between men and women officeholders.

However, North Carolina remains a male-dominated state in terms of office holders and candidates — especially in rural areas.”

The full report can be accessed at WWW.Meredith.edu.

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