Reed's implication that Alabama lags behind the rest of the nation in female legislators is correct. According to the Center for American Women and Politics, Alabama's state legislature ranks 49th in % of female legislators (ahead of only South Carolina). Three women (2 D and 1 R) currently serve in the State Senate while 12 women (10 D and 2 R) sit in the State House. That means women represent an anemic 10.7% of the Alabama legislature.
But don't look now because that percentage could dramatically drop in 2006. With beleaguered State Sen Sundra Escott facing a tough primary challenge from State Rep Oliver Robinson and State Sen Harri Anne Smith expected to file for governor, it is certainly possible that Vivian Davis-Figures might be the sole woman left in the State Senate after the next round of elections. I haven't looked in detail at the women in the State House, but I don't expect to see a dramatic increase in that body either.
Of course Alabama's highest profile female politician, Lurleen Wallace, was hardly elected on her own, even though her popularity eventually succeeded that of her husband. And no woman has ever been elected to Congress from Alabama. As far as I can tell, Faye Baggiano's (D) narrow 1990 loss to incumbent Bill Dickinson(R) is the closest a woman has been to winning election to Congress.
However, Alabama does have some success to point to when it comes to electing women. Four of the seven top statewide offices are held by women (LG, Treas, SoS, Aud). And women have also had success in statewide judicial races, and on the Public Service Commission, and State Board of Education.
So while women may be under-represented in the both the state and national legislative bodies, Alabama does have plenty of prominent female elected officials, both past and present. And with many eyeing office in 2006 (from governor on down), Alabama women will continue to play an important role in state politics.