It’s still unclear whether New York will end up having its first female mayor, but when it comes to the City Council, it appears women are making progress. 

“We are hoping, obviously, that there might be a path here still to see a woman mayor, but if that’s not the case really we have a City Council that is gonna be much more reflective of the reality of the city,” former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said. 

What You Need To Know

  • Organizations like 21 in '21 lead the effort to elect more female council members

  • Out of 51 seats in the legislative body, only 14 are currently occupied by women

  • Some former council members are reclaiming their old seats

  • The next City Council term will only last two years

Five years ago, when she realized women were losing ground in the council, Mark-Viverito started an organization — 21 in '21 — focused on electing 21 women in 2021.

Out of the 51 seats in the legislative body, only 14 are currently occupied by female members. 

Now, the partial results from primary night show 29 women leading their Democratic races. 

Nine of them appear to have already won outright, including newcomers Marjorie Velazquez in the Bronx and Jennifer Gutierrez in Brooklyn. 

“We cannot have a city that is truly inclusive and where we can talk about equity and justice if half of the population is not sitting at the decision-making table,” Mark-Viverito said. 

Another woman who looks likely to win her council primary race is Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

“Not only was it a goal for the women’s groups, but I thought it was interesting that the more traditional democratic party organizations also made it their goal, and that was somewhat new,” Brewer said.

She is part of a group of candidates reclaiming their old seats.

Jim Gennaro, who also served in the council until 2013, is back after a special election earlier this year and won his primary race on Tuesday.  

Charles Barron is also likely to get his old seat back.

“I think the value is people who have seen what works and what doesn’t work, even though it was a different time,” Brewer said.

This will be a short-term council, lasting only two years before new districts are redrawn based on the 2020 Census and new elections are held.