A thriving democracy is within our reach but we must level the playing field for women candidates across the racial, political, and geographic spectrum so that our nation's rich diversity is reflected in our elected bodies.
Electing more women to every level of government will strengthen our democracy by making it more representative, reviving bi-partisanship & collaboration, improving policy outcomes, encouraging a new style of leadership, and building greater trust in our elected bodies.
The percentage of women serving in elected office has increased very little since the "year of the woman" and the United States now ranks behind 99 nations in the representation of women. With the momentum of the 2016 elections at our backs we can win gender parity for women in elected office in our lifetimes but only if we embrace new strategies that tackle the root causes of the problem and fundamentally level the playing field for all women candidates.
Last week, the U.K. election received mass media attention for its partisan outcome, but less so for its unprecedented election of women to Parliament. On Thursday, June 8th, the U.K. made national history by electing 208 women Members of Parliament - the highest number yet. While the new partisan breakdown sparked heated debate and disagreement, the overwhelming appreciation for this achievement crossed party lines. Many also celebrated the election of the first woman Sikh MP, Preet Kaur Gill, and the first Palestinian MP, Layla Moran.Read More
Women made gains in the parliamentary elections this week in the UK winning 32% of the seats - an increase of 16 seats since 2015 - according to this story from the BBC. Intentional recruitment efforts by the parties are credited with this impressive seat gain. Sam Smethers, whom Susannah Wellford and I met in November in London, was quoted as saying: The outcome of this election was a surprise to many pollsters, but it has seen more Labour women MPs elected. The Conservative Party has not seen a significant reduction in women MPs despite losing seats. "But the real story is that progress has stalled. Getting more women in cannot be subject to party political fortunes. As we approach the centenary of women first getting to vote in general elections, we cannot wait for another nine elections to achieve equality. "We agree with the recommendation of the cross-party Women and Equalities Select Committee that 45% of each party's candidates must be women. The time has come for a legally enforceable target to achieve the radical and sustainable change we need.Read More
Susannah Wellford and Laura Cox Kaplan joined Mika Brzezinski at an event at the Embassy of Germany that was focused on the "importance of authenticity, knowing and owning your value, and tackling self doubt" according to Laura Cox Kaplan - looks like a fabulous event! There was an interesting story on CBCNews reporting that the Liberals in Canada have appointed women to judicial positions and as candidates in key districts in order to achieve gender parity. Intentional actions like these are gaining momentum in the UK and Canada which is significant not only because they are major allies of the US but also because they share our single winner district/ winner takes all voting system. Building relationships with gender parity advocates in Canada is essential so that we can learn from their successes.Read More
At the current rate of change, it will take centuries to achieve gender parity for women in elective office - we can't wait that long for an equal voice in government.
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