Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., addresses the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, July 19, 2016.
Photograph by Tom Williams—CQ-Roll Call, Inc.
By Kristen Bellstrom
July 20, 2016

Melania Trump’s controversial speech may be the biggest news to come out of the RNC so far, but in other aspects of the gathering, it seems that women are considered better seen than heard.

The roll call vote—in which state delegation chairs report the number of votes for a given candidate—is a major moment of a party’s convention, resulting in his or her official nomination as a presidential candidate. Yet as the chairs at the Republican National Convention stepped up to the microphone to report their numbers on Tuesday, one thing was notably missing: women’s voices.

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Throughout the hour-and-a-half long roll call, only 10 women spoke. To put that in perspective, consider that there were 56 delegations present: one from each of the 50 states, plus Puerto Rico, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Northern Mariana Islands. What’s more, a couple of those women were not the only people to speak for their states, and instead shared their moment in the spotlight with a male delegate.

 

To be fair, the RNC is giving women more stage time than in 2012. This year’s speaker list includes 24 women, up from 19 four years ago. Of course, that’s 24 out of 70 total, so still a long way from parity.

That gender imbalance goes far beyond the convention. Female Republicans still lag far behind their male counterparts in Congress: GOP women currently hold 28 of the total 535 seats, compared with 76 women, according to Center for American Women in Politics. They are also outnumbered by Democratic women in state legislatures.

Given how badly the GOP needs to win women’s votes to secure a Trump presidency—77% of whom have an unfavorable impression of the candidate, according to a June poll—the party may want to consider giving more Republican women a turn at the mic—and beyond.

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