Moreover, female representation seems to have flat-lined the world's most powerful countries – in particular, the United States. Although pundits called this election year in the US the "Year of the Republican Woman," the reality was far less dramatic. While significantly more Republican women ran in House primaries (128), fewer won (47) than in 2004. And despite some high profile victories – Nikki Haley becoming South Carolina's first woman governor, or Kelly Ayotte taking one of New Hampshire's Senate seats – the overall number of female governors stayed the same, at six, and the number of women in Congress overall stayed about the same. The Inter-Parliamentary Union ranks the US 73rd in the world in terms of female representation, tied with Turkmenistan.
"There's a misconception about where we are when it comes to women and politics," says Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey. "Because we have the Hillary Clintons, the Nancy Pelosis, the Sarah Palins, it gives the sense that these women are everywhere. But women make up a really small proportion of our elected officials."