From Mamiverse June 10, 2012:
Of the 24 Latinos serving in Congress, only seven are women, according to figures from the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed officials (NALEO). We spoke to Latina elected officials in two big Latino states, California and Texas, and they told us the reasons for this phenomenon could be boiled down to three main issues: economics, organization and culture—but that none of these should be impossible barriers.
“You need to plan, plot, strategize — because it isn’t going to just happen,” said Gloria Molina, current Los Angeles County Supervisor, former LA councilwoman and assembly member. Molina said that California’s four Latina congresswomen came to office through strategic organization over the course of several years, and after pushing Latinas to run for the state legislature. In addition to California’s four Latina representatives, one each is from Florida, New York and Washington state.
Interestingly, although California’s population of 14 million Latinos and Texas’ 9.4 million come out toroughly 38% of each state’s population, Texas has never had a single Latina congresswoman. Recently, the state’s best hope for one—Sylvia Romo in the San Antonio-based and largely minority 35th district of Texas—lost the Democratic primary to Austin Congressman Lloyd Doggett. Before Doggett entered the race, Romo seemed a shoo-in; however conversations with Latinas in both states illustrate the many factors involved in creating Latina congresswomen.