A thriving democracy is within our reach, and together, we can make it a reality.
We must level the playing field for women candidates of all backgrounds to run, win, and lead.
Electing more women will strengthen our democracy by better representing its rich diversity, reviving bipartisanship, improving policy outcomes, encouraging a new style of leadership, and cultivating trust in our elected bodies.
The U.S. ranks behind 100 other countries for women's representation, with women making up less than a quarter of every level of government. Yet progress is possible. With the momentum of a growing movement pushing us forward, we can win gender parity in our lifetimes - but only with new strategies that target the structural causes of women’s underrepresentation.
I wasn't planning on posting but I was reminded that Alice Paul was born on January 11, 1885 - she was an eighth-generation Quaker, who graduated from Swarthmore College and wrote the still-unratified Equal Rights Amendment: Freedom from legal sex discrimination, Alice Paul believed, required an Equal Rights Amendment that affirmed the equal application of the Constitution to all citizens. In 1923, in Seneca Falls for the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the 1848 Woman's Rights Convention, she introduced the "Lucretia Mott Amendment," which read: "Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction." The amendment was introduced in every session of Congress until it passed in reworded form in 1972. Although the National Woman's Party and professional women such as Amelia Earhart supported the amendment, reformers who had worked for protective labor laws that treated women differently from men were afraid that the ERA would wipe out the progress they had made. In the early 1940s, the Republican Party and then the Democratic Party added support of the Equal Rights Amendment to their platforms. Alice Paul rewrote the ERA in 1943 to what is now called the "Alice Paul Amendment," reflecting the 15th and the 19th Amendments: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." But the labor movement was still committed to protective workplace laws, and social conservatives considered equal rights for women a threat to the existing power structure...Read More
It's been a busy start to 2018 with daily reminders of both the need for women to have an equal voice in elected/appointed offices and the potential for rapid change that coalition work makes possible. The clearest example of this was the impressive launch of the Time's Up coalition- which issued a clarion call to end sexual harassment and the inequality that perpetuates it. Many thanks to terrific allies like Monica Ramirez who has played a major role in the development of this effort - and the many others who are participating. Our voices are stronger when when we sing in unison. My single biggest hope for 2018 is that together we will begin to consider intentional actions like quotas and voting system reforms that are advancing women's representation around the globe. This terrific piece from The Australian provides a model for the conversation we must have in the US. It's hard to be a lone voice on any topic but as the Time's Up women have demonstrated there is tangible power in our collective voice - let's use it: Whenever gender quotas have been raised with conservatives, the collective reason for opposing them almost always has been rooted in the principle of merit. It’s a spurious argument at best, but it’s their excuse time and time again for not taking decisive action to fix the gender imbalance among their parliamentary representatives. The data doesn’t lie: there is no denying the huge disparity in representation between the major parties when it comes to gender. Today there are fewer Coalition women in parliament — as a percentage and as a total — than at any time during John Howard’s nearly 12 years in power. In contrast Labor, which has embraced quotas, has seen the number of women in parliament steadily rise. Years ago it was Labor that had a problem attracting women to join its ranks and run for parliament. The blokey culture of the party of the working class was less appealing than the Liberal Party for many women. Today, however, from what little we can glean from membership figures made available publicly, fewer woman are joining the party ranks of the conservatives.Read More
Barbara Lee, president and founder of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, penned a terrific piece that reflects what so many of us are thinking "We don;t need another Year of the Woman. We need progress for women every year" and I would add a special emphasis that we need progress for all women every year: Last January, after taking part in the largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history, a 32-year-old emergency psychiatric screener at a New Jersey hospital spotted a Facebook post from her county official, who asked, mockingly: “Will the women's protest end in time for them to cook dinner?” Another year, she might have just raged; instead, she ran for his seat. On November 7, Ashley Bennett, a political newcomer, unseated John Carman, a career politician. She wasn’t alone. One year after the Women’s March, a new generation of women will be marching into office as newly-elected members of school boards, city councils and state legislatures. Their unlikely victories were made possible by thousands more women who organized, phone banked and drove their neighbors to the polls.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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