Democratic Women’s Caucus Leaders Send Letter to Republican Committee Chairs on Underrepresentation of Women Witnesses in the House

Sep 26, 2023
Uncategorized

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05), Vice-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus (DWC), along with Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL), DWC Chair for Diversity & Inclusion, DWC Chair Lois Frankel (D-FL) and DWC Vice Chair Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM) pushed House Republican Committee Chairs to seek more women panelists and better prioritize gender parity among Committee witnesses. This push follows a precipitous decline in women’s representation among committee witnesses when Republican chairs took the Committee gavels in the 118th Congress. 

The members wrote: 

“As of September 6, 2023, only 31% of committee witnesses were women (see Table 1). Some Committees even have rates of women witnesses as low as 8% (Budget Committee), 12% (Armed Services Committee), and 18% (Agriculture Committee). Notably, this percentage was even lower for women of color under the age of 50. (see Table 2)”

The members added: 

“This contrasts with the 117th Congress, when 2,159 out of 4,110 committee witnesses were women, or approximately 52%. Put simply, in most committee hearings during this 118th Congress, women’s perspectives are not being adequately heard as committees tackle issues that will have direct and important consequences on the lives of their families.”  
Read the full letter below and HERE.

Dear Committee Chairs:

We write today about the urgent matter of achieving gender parity in Committee witnesses during the 118th Congress. Women have extensive expertise and unique experiences, and they deserve to have their voices heard in our committee rooms. However, in the first eight months of this Congress, women have been notably underrepresented in committee hearings—a distinct shift from the 117th Congress. The current lack of gender parity is concerning, and we urge you to seek more women panelists for committee hearings and strive to achieve equal representation of women in the witnesses that come before members of Congress.

As of September 6, 2023, only 31% of committee witnesses were women (see Table 1). Some Committees even have rates of women witnesses as low as 8% (Budget Committee), 12% (Armed Services Committee), and 18% (Agriculture Committee). Notably, this percentage was even lower for women of color under the age of 50 (see Table 2).

This contrasts with the 117th Congress, when 2,159 out of 4,110 committee witnesses were women, or approximately 52%. Put simply, in most committee hearings during this 118th Congress, women’s perspectives are not being adequately heard as committees tackle issues that will have direct and important consequences on the lives of their families.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this critical matter. We stand ready to assist as appropriate.

Sincerely,

CONTACT: PressGA05@mail.house.gov 

Congresswoman Nikema Williams proudly serves Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District on the exclusive Financial Services Committee. She is a champion of voting rights and builds on the Fifth District’s legacy as the cradle of the civil rights movement as co-chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus. Congresswoman Williams is committed to closing the racial wealth gap and ensuring the promise of America for all–regardless of your ZIP code or bank account.

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