A record-setting number of women are serving in the Pa. House. They make up just a quarter of the body | Analysis

Bridget M. Kosierowski is sworn in to the Pa. House. (Courtesy Pa. House Democrats)

On Monday, special election winner Bridget Kosierowski was sworn in as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The Democrat is now one of 53 women serving in the body — the most female members to serve at one time in the state’s history.

It should be noted that in the 203-member chamber, women still hold just over a quarter of seats. Representation is about the same in the Pa. Senate, where women control 12 seats out of 50.

To be fair, it used to be a lot worse.

To illustrate that point, the Capital-Star counted the female members in the House and Senate — both returning and newly elected — over the past 20 years.

When you consider the past two decades, the 2018 Year of the Woman looks all the more remarkable.

In the Senate, the 2018 election helped build the chamber’s female bench. In 2017, just seven women were serving in the Senate — 14 percent of the body.

The Senate’s female ranks will swell by one in the near future, when Pam Iovino, who won a special election in the Pittsburgh suburbs, is sworn in.

Iovino will bring the number of women in the Senate to 13 — a new record.

Associate Editor Sarah Anne Hughes covers the governor and Pennsylvania's agencies. Before joining the Capital-Star, she was the state capitol reporter for Billy Penn and The Incline, and a 2018 corps member for Report for America. She was previously managing editor of Washington City Paper, editor-in-chief of DCist, and a national blogger for The Washington Post.

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