53 women in Michigan's Legislature is alarming. Here's why.

By Nancy Kaffer, Detroit Free Press

For Michigan women, the 2018 midterm elections were an unparalleled triumph. Women ran for office in record numbers. Organized, campaigned and voted in record numbers. And won, in record numbers. Michiganders elected women to the offices of governor, attorney general and secretary of state, and sent six women to the U.S. Congress. 

Michiganders elected a whopping 53 women to the state Legislature, enough to propel Michigan from the middle ranks of female representation to 12th in the nation, per the Center for American Women and Politics. These are remarkable victories, and after years of stagnation, it's real growth. 

And it's depressing. 

Women are 51 percent of the state's population. Even after a record-breaking year, we're just 36 percent of the state Legislature. That's right: Chart-busting numbers of women motivated by the current political climate and winning an unprecedented number of seats doesn't get the Legislature in spitting distance of equal representation.

Michigan's newly elected or re-elected female lawmakers ran tight, hard-fought campaigns against well-funded and well-known opponents — defending against sometimes openly misogynistic attacks — and won stunning victories. The teeth-gritting frustration that a scant third of our elected legislators are women in no way diminishes what these candidates accomplished, that they made history, or the hard work of the women who supported them. 

See the entire article including graphics > https://www.freep.com/story/opinion/columnists/nancy-kaffer/2019/01/06/michigan-women-legislature-2018-midterms/2477209002/

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