Wisconsin Women are a powerful social and economic force.
Learn about Women's Council and other programs to improve the status of women.

Elected Office

Take a Seat at the Table
(and help other women pull up their chairs)

The late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm said: “If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” The fastest and most effective way to make change at policymaking tables is to sit there. Help women take their seats by helping build and sustain the infrastructure needed for women to be successful public leaders.  

from the Women's Definitive Guide to Getting Political, Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University


Current Publications


Women in County Government, 2017

Women in the WI Legislature: Prior Experience in State and Local Elected Office 

Women in the WI Legislature: Prior Experience in State and Local Elected Office, 2017 

Women in the WI State Legislature, 2017 

Women in the WI Judiciary, 2017 


Women in Local Government (2015 data)

Moving Wisconsin Forward, 2015 
Women & Elected Office in state and local government in Wisconsin.  Updated statistics and 10-Year Trends.

History of Women in Local Government
Timeline Project


Research & Publications Archive

2010 Update
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:


Timeline of Women's Political Firsts
in Wisconsin State Government

Click to Enlarge


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


The number of local elected seats held by women in Wisconsin - from County Boards to School Boards

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, the vast majority - over 95%! - of elected offices in Wisconsin are in local government. 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 research:

League of Wisconsin Municipalities
WI Association of School Boards
WI Clerks of Circuit Courts Association
WI Counties Association
WI County Clerk's Association
WI County Treasurer's Association
WI Office of State Courts
WI Register of Deeds Association
WI Sheriff's & Deputy Sheriff's Association
WI Towns Association

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.