Weekend Reading on Women's Representation November 10, 2017

By Cynthia Terrell on November 10, 2017

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​​The New York Times reported on the first American woman to win the NYC marathon in 40 years - advancing women's leadership on all fronts!

​Dear all,

Women candidates made great strides in Tuesday's elections - both in record numbers of candidates - thanks to the great work of EmergeAmerica & its terrific state affiliates, Higher Heights, Latinas Represent and VoteRunLead among many others - and a record number of wins! The Center for American Women and Politics tallied the available results on their website. Ballotpedia tracks state legislative special elections, mayoral races, and municipal races as well.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation November 3, 2017

By Cynthia Terrell on November 03, 2017

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According to this story on the MintPress News the United States has fallen to 49 in ranking of gender equality in a new World Economic Forum report:

The United States has made significant decline. When the study started in 2006, the U.S. ranked 23 out of 144 countries being examined, but in 2017 the U.S. has fallen to 49.

The U.S. has a significant gender pay gap and is one of few developed countries that does not have guaranteed paid maternity leave, which the WEF claims is a simple way for the U.S. to increase gender equality.

While a majority of the countries participating in the study are steadily increasing their gender equality, even the top ranked countries, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Rwanda, and Sweden have not achieved gender parity.

Japan dropped to 114th in gender equality in this same World Economic Forum report according to this story in The Japan Times while "Iceland topped the rankings for the ninth straight year, followed by Norway and Finland, according to the WEF, the organizer of the annual Davos meeting of business and political leaders. Rwanda came fourth, up from fifth, thanks to a rise in women’s economic participation."

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A Conversation with Nadya Okamoto: Ranked Choice Voting, Young Women Running, and Representative Democracy

By Antoinette Gingerelli on November 03, 2017

At the age of 19 years-old, second year Harvard student Nadya Okamoto is running for Cambridge City Council. There are currently twenty-six candidates running for nine at-large council seats on the council, six of which incumbent seats. Cambridge, Massachusetts conducts its elections using ranked choice voting, which allows voters to rank candidates in order of choice. Representation2020 sat down to talk with Nadya about the value of a representative democracy and ranked choice voting. “I am running in a district where over 35% of the demographic is under the age of 25 and over 34% of the adult population is enrolled in the university, yet we’ve never has student or youth representation on council.” As a supporter of representative democracy, she believes “we elect people to be able to represent experiences and basically act as megaphones for what the residents need.” Nadya believes that to truly be representative the council needs to have someone “living the experiences” or “can truly empathize” with the experiences of a student. She is looking to bridge that gap and believes it is important that young people’s voices are in the conversation, especially young women, because they are a part of the community.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation October 27, 2017

By Cynthia Terrell on October 27, 2017

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The Barbara Lee Family Foundation released their report Opportunity Knocks that tracks the recent increase in the number of women running for office and makes the compelling case that there has never been a better time for women to run for office - tune in to their webinar on November 9th at 1pm to learn more. Barbara Lee had a great column in the Detroit News this week:

Many of the characteristics voters associate with women — including honesty, integrity and authenticity — are highly prized by today’s electorate. Unsurprisingly, the strength and impact of these perceptions depends largely on candidates’ and voters’ respective party affiliations. Still, in many categories, women on both sides of the aisle benefit from their gender, with Democratic women candidates accentuating traditional Democratic advantages and Republican women overcoming some of the weaknesses voters typically associate with women and Republican candidates...

In 2018, 468 seats in Congress, 36 governorships and more than 5,000 state and local office positions will be up for grabs, and women have an unprecedented opportunity to fill more of them than ever before. The field is wide open, and first-time candidates, even those with little or no experience in elected office, have a real shot at winning if they can convince voters they have what it takes to bring about change.

Knowledge is power, and while every candidate brings a different set of experiences to the table, understanding voter perceptions of gender can help women lean into their advantages while controlling areas in which they may be more vulnerable. Our research affirms that women can win when they showcase their accomplishments, demonstrate their passion for key campaign issues, and highlight the difference women make when they serve as elected officials. By deploying these insights, women candidates of all backgrounds can make the most of this opportune moment, make the leap into leadership, and make better policy that reflects the rich diversity of our nation.

 

 

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The Status of Women's Representation on the NYC Council

By Jordan Allen on October 25, 2017

Women make up a majority of the population in New York City. In 2001,18 women served on the New York City Council but in 2017 only 13 women serve on the 51-seat City Council, and that number is projected to shrink in 2018. Out of the 13 current city councilwomen, four were ineligible to run again due to term limits, while one decided not to run for re-election. All five of these women are of color. At best, 12 women will be serving in the 2018 New York City Council. There were no primary challengers for the single Republican incumbent up for re-election. Though 113 Democrats ran for contested seats, only 38 were women. A third of Democratic primaries didn’t even have a woman on the ballot. No women are running to replace Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, meaning that New York City will be bereft of a female speaker for the first time since 2005.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation October 20, 2017

By Cynthia Terrell on October 20, 2017

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Dear all,
The BBC reported on women's representation in the Communist Party and in governmental positions in China:

Of the 89.4 million members of the Chinese Communist Party, just under 23 million are women - that's 26%.

And women make up 24% of China's National Congress - the sprawling national parliament. You don't have to be a Communist Party member to sit on that.

Women are less represented the higher up the political tree you climb.

After the last Congress in 2012, only 33 women sat on the Central Committee which elects the powerful Politburo - that's 9%.

Only two of the 25 members of that Politburo were women - 8%.

An update on Canada from the Montreal Gazette entitled "More Women Running But Gender-Parity Seems Far Off" reports on the status of women's representation:

This year, 33 per cent of candidates for city council seats are women, compared to 31 per cent in the 2013 election, and 26 per cent in 2005.

In mayoralty races, 20 per cent of hopefuls are women this year, compared to 18 per cent in 2013 and 14 per cent in 2005.

“At this pace, will it take more than half a century to achieve parity at the municipal level, particularly in terms of candidates for the position of mayor?” Groupe Femmes Politique et Démocratie (GFPD) said in a statement. “It is time to act to correct this iniquity. It’s a question of democracy.”

A non-profit, non-partisan organization, the GFPD is lobbying for “a law guaranteeing gender parity within political decision-making bodies.”

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation - New Zealand News - October

By Cynthia Terrell on October 20, 2017

​ New Zealand has a new female prime minister Jacinda Ardern who joins just 12 other women heads of state world wide and at 37 is the youngest female head of state in New Zealand's history according to this excellent piece in The Guardian that also lists the other current women leaders. Almost one month after voting day in New Zealand, 37-year-old Jacinda Ardern has become the country’s new prime minister. Ardern’s victory, which was a surprising coup for the country’s left, makes her New Zealand’s third female prime minister and its youngest leader in 150 years.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation October 13, 2017

By Cynthia Terrell on October 13, 2017

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What a week it's been friends,

The latest issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine covers many parts of the women's representation mosaic from a great piece by Mindy Finn, to a piece by DC mayor Muriel Bowser, to Brenda Carter's terrific Reflective Democracy Campaign maps, but pieces like this one perpetuate the idea that to win parity, individual women need to have the right approach, attitude, and skills. I found no discussion of the data-driven strategies that are electing far more women to office faster in the 100 nations that rank above us in women's representation. It's time for a more sophisticated conversation about the barriers and the solutions to the under-representation of women.

There was a great story entitled "Getting to Gender Equality Starts with Realizing Hose Far We Have to Go" in PR Newswire about the new report from McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org about the slow pace of change for women in the workforce and the structural barriers impeding their success:

Many men don't fully grasp the state of women in the workplace. More than 60 percent of men say that their company is doing what it takes to improve gender diversity, while only 49 percent of women agree. Fifty percent of men say managers consider a diverse lineup of candidates to fill open positions, compared to just 35 percent of women. Further, men are less personally committed to gender diversity, and some even worry that diversity efforts disadvantage them.

Many companies also overlook the realities of women of color. Women of color face more obstacles and a steeper path to leadership, from receiving less support from managers to getting promoted more slowly. This negatively affects how they view the workplace and their opportunities for advancement—and is particularly acute for Black women.

Provo, Utah will have its first woman mayor according to this story in US News & World Report but we will have to wait until election day to see which of the female contenders wins.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation October 6, 2017

By Cynthia Terrell on October 06, 2017

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Dear friends,

Read this great piece from Politico complete with an interview with the fabulous Gwen Young, director of the Wilson Center's Global Women's Leadership Initiative, about the launch of their Global Women's Leadership Initiative Index to measure women's political power around the world.

WR: What exactly is the Leadership Index trying to find out about women in government?

GY: What we’re trying to measure is how much formal and how much enacted power women hold. If you’re the president of the country, you have a certain amount of power. If you’re in parliament, you have a legislative power. If you’re a minister, you may or may not have budget power. Those are your formal powers. But what’s really important in the gender space is the informal or enacted powers: How do people perceive you? Do you use your power? Are you an effective leader in your field?

WR: Which countries are getting it right?

GY: It’s easy to point to the Nordic countries. Part of it is they have the laws and legislation in place. Part of it is they had quotas. Part of it is they’re a welfare state and they work a lot on trusting government. Most of the countries I look at have either a commitment that’s a quota or a commitment like Canada that comes down from the leader. And so [Canadian Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau’s getting it right, or [French President Emmanuel] Macron is getting it right, because they’re saying, “I as the leader am committed to appointing this many women.”

WR: What surprised you most about the research?

GY: I think the biggest surprise was how much data did not exist -- that there is so much that is simply not disaggregated by sex. For example: In the United States, we do not disaggregate the judiciary sector by sex. So you can call up court systems and national people, but they don’t naturally do that.

WR: What change do you hope to effect with this index?

GY: What we’re hoping the index will do will tell you which levers to move that will promote gender equality. You can separate out the indicators, hopefully change a policy and see which one’s going to actually end up with more women leaders. And so I think using it to assess and do some criteria for donors, investors and philanthropists will be very important.

WR: Your project’s goal is to get to global gender parity in governments by 2050. How likely is that?

GY: I do think we’ll get to the 2050 goal. It’s far enough. It’s ambitious enough that it’s not going to be easy. And it’s going to require a huge cultural change as much a systemic shift. But I have to be optimistic. And I have to believe that we’re going to get there. Because otherwise I’m not sure we can develop the solutions or the creativity to get there.

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Join us in turning public passion for gender parity into action and results