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Women in Government

I never dreamed that one day I would become Secretary of State ... It's not that I was modest; it's just that I had never seen a Secretary of State in a skirt.

Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State


Timeline of Women's Political Firsts in Wisconsin

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Recent Publications

2015 Fact Sheet: Women in the WI State Legislature, 2017    

Moving Women Forward, 2015  An analysis of Wisconsin women in elected office, updated statistics and 10-year trends.

2015 Fact Sheet: Women in the WI State Legislature    


Research & Publications:

2010 Benchmark Report
Moving Wisconsin Forward: An Analysis of Wisconsin Women and Elected Office 

2005 Benchmark Report
Women in Elected Office in Wisconsin (published in 2006)

Other publications:



About the Benchmark Report Series 

These census reports on women in local government is the Wisconsin Women's Council's track percent of elected offices in state and local government in Wisconsin that are held by women. The first report, based on 2005 data (published in 2006), tracked women's status as elected and appointed officials in state and local governments at the end of 2005. Subsequent reports in 2010 and 2015 update those figures and looks at progress over the decade state, county, city, village, town and school board officials, including the Wisconsin jucidary.

With the 2015 report, Wisconsin continues its leadership as one of the few states to track women's participation and progress in holding local elected office. While information is available nationwide on women elected to federal and state legislatures, and selected offices such as governors and mayors of major cities, almost no information exists on the thousands of individuals who hold elected offices in local governments such as county boards, city councils and school boards. This represents a large gap in understanding women's political participation and leadership, and in the pipeline of women for higher offices in state and local government.

Serving in Local Government

We often think of state and federal elected offices – Governor, Senate, Assembly and Congress – as the policymakers that influence the taxes we pay, the public benefits and programs we receive and the social and economic climate of our state.

In fact, it is local government officials that make many of the decisions and oversee programs that affect our everyday lives – from property tax rates to public health protections, foster care programs, zoning and local residential and business development, and the number of teachers in classrooms. Who represents you and the face of leadership in your community should matter to every Wisconsin citizen.


The Wisconsin Women's Council thanks the following organizations for their assistance and support in compiling this report:

League of Wisconsin Municipalities
WI Department of Public Instruction
WI Towns Association

The Women’s Council gratefully acknowledges the assistance and contributions of the following individuals in preparing this report: Sarah Briganti, Cecily Castillo, Mary Ann Gerrard, Nadine Grantz, Elaine Maly; Dr. Joan Prince and Representative Kelda Helen Roys; and Elizabeth Radloff, Research Assistant.

Statements of fact and opinion are made on the responsibility of the WI Women's Council alone and do not necessarily represent the views of the organizations and individuals listed above. No endorsement by such organizations/individuals is given or implied.

Disclaimer. The information and data for this study and attached materials have been gathered from a variety of sources and are subject to change without notice. Neither the Wisconsin Women's Council, its members and staff, nor any other party involved in providing this study warrant that the information contained therein is in every respect accurate or complete and they specifically disclaim any responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions that may be contained in the report or related materials, or for the results obtained from the use of such information. You are encouraged to consult other sources and confirm the information contained within this report and related materials.