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January 25, 2016

Despite ranking first in the country when it comes to having institutional resources to help women get involved and stay involved in the political process -- such as training programs, political action committees related to women, a state chapter of the National Women’s Political Caucus, and the like -- New Jersey lags when it comes to political participation among women.

Some of that is due to the fact that New Jerseyans in general aren’t very involved in the political process. Only about 62 percent of New Jersey women are registered to vote, on average, with only 47 percent of them voting in 2010 and 2012. But that was higher than the percentage of men who registered and then voted.

Still, that’s not the whole story: The state ranked 31st for the number of women in elected office as well. There is only one statewide official who is female -- Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. We have only one U.S. Representative, Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12). When it comes to the state Legislature, women do a bit better, but only 27.3 percent of state Senators are women and only 31.3 percent of the state Assembly is female. When it comes to women of color in the state Legislature, there are only three.

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