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Group wants legislature to examine its gender gap

By Nikita Biryukov, November 14 2018 9:23 am

A South Jersey progressive group wants the legislature to examine the reasons behind the disproportionately-low number of women serving in the state’s legislature.

South Jersey Women for Progressive Change said in a press release Wednesday that, while the legislature is holding hearings on the hiring of Al Alvarez, the state’s politicians should review their recruiting practices to see if they are keeping the number of women in the legislature low.

“Where power and money are controlled in New Jersey, this is overwhelmingly male-dominated space,” said Sue Altman, member of the SJWPC. “County chairs are almost exclusively white men — this is where the problem begins. And unsurprisingly, it permeates into both branches of the State Legislature. Political leaders, particularly Democrats, must examine their own practices.”

There are 10 women state senators in New Jersey, and 27 of the 80-member Assembly are women.

No woman has served as New Jersey’s Senate president, and only two have served as Assembly speaker, the second being now-Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver.

“Leaders of New Jersey not only have to be held accountable for past indiscretions, mistakes, and wrong-doing, they must also be held accountable for not putting supports in place and creating a culture that does no longer tolerates harm to others,” said Melissa Tomlinson, a board member of the SJWPC.

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