Missouri trails the nation in number of female lawmakers

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The number of women serving as Missouri lawmakers is up slightly this year, but it still trails the national average.

The share of female lawmakers rose from nearly 23 percent last year to more than 25 percent this year. But that lags the national average and ranks 33rd among states.

Republican state Rep. Jean Evans says she’s happy to see the increase. But she says the Legislature should reflect the state, where roughly half of residents are women.

Some female Missouri lawmakers say it’s challenging to persuade other women to run for office. Kansas City-based Women’s Foundation President and CEO Wendy Doyle says support from political leaders in the state is key.

Despite lagging in numbers, women lead the Democratic minority parties in both the House and Senate.

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