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Latinas in the US: The story behind the numbers

Women are the greatest rising force in American politics today. Thirty years ago, women held a mere 4 percent of all state legislative seats in the country; today they hold 22 percent. Latinas, in particular, are making inroads in the American political landscape, graduating faster and in higher numbers than their male Latino counterparts and increasingly choosing a career in politics. Between 1996 and 2006, the number of Latina candidates elected to office nationally and locally increased by 73 percent, compared to a 26 percent increase among Latino male elected officials.

Yet, Latinas are also facing significant challenges: they are twice as likely as non-Hispanic women to live in poverty, one out of every three does not have health insurance, one third of Hispanic girls drop out of high school, and nearly 90 percent never complete college.

On Tuesday, October 28, 2008, the Center for American Progress Action Fund organized a panel to discuss the progress and remaining challenges faced by Hispanic women. Among the topics addressed were the 2008 presidential election campaign, immigration and citizenship policy, education and health care quality, employment issues, and Latino participation in the political process.

Moderated by Vanessa Cardenas, Director for Ethnic Media at the Center for American Progress, the panel featured panelists from the labor, women, policy and government sectors including NHLI’s President, Cristina López.

To view panel discussion on C-Span or order tape visit:

To learn more about the Center for American Progress Action Fund visit: