The Center for American Women and Politics, a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, has launched the Women Elected Officials Database, a first-of-its kind tool for exploring and analyzing women's current and historical representation in the U.S. political system.

CAWP Associate Director Jean Sinzdak says the database includes every woman officeholder in U.S. history at the federal, statewide elected executive and state legislative levels. There are 11,000 women in this database, going back to the very first woman to hold office in 1893 — Democrat Laura J. Eisenhuth, the superintendent of public instruction in North Dakota.

Sinzdak said it's the most complete collection of information anywhere in the world about women serving in office in the nation.

The database is important because CAWP has used the data to mark trends, keep track of progress or lack of progress and to share information with researchers who are trying to understand why are women running, where are they are running and how can more women get into office. Sinzdak said women are under represented in office.

She said the database is useful to researchers and scholars who can download the data to be used in their own projects to further the cause of getting more women in office.

The database is searchable by title, state, race, ethnicity and party.

So how does New Jersey fare with electing women to office compared to the rest of the country?

"Well, we're not the worst. We're also not the best either. We have done better in recent years," said Sinzdak.

At the state legislative level, New Jersey was in the bottom 10 for a long time for the proportion of women serving on that . But in the llevelast decade, New Jersey has improved significantly. The state is currently 21st in the country in terms of women representation.

New Jersey has two women serving in its 12-person congressional delegation.

Sinzdak said New Jersey is making progress but more women need to be encouraged to run for office. The database hopes to put a spotlight on that issue. It hopes to inspire others about women representation in politics.

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