Weekend Reading on Women's Representation April 28, 2017

By Cynthia Terrell on April 28, 2017

​Dear friends,
Every week brings reminders of the pressing need to elect more women from across the racial, political, and geographic spectrum along with indications that our work is gaining traction. I am heartened by the many opportunities for collaboration and interaction with each of you!

Lee Drutman wrote an excellent piece for Vox that describes why polarization and re-election of incumbents is at an all-time high - this translates into very, very few opportunities for women to enter state and federal politics. Lee goes on to endorse the Fair Representation Act, which will be introduced in Congress in June (!), that will dramatically increase the opportunities for women to run and win by establishing multi-winner districts with ranked choice voting for U.S. House elections. This same model can also be implemented at the state level and will have a similar impact on increasing the opportunities for new voices in government. Reihan Salam, editor of the National Review, wrote a similar critique of our current system a couple years ago - stay tuned for much more on this

Pippa Norris, one of the leading experts on the relationship between electoral systems and women's representation, was interviewed just this week by World Policy Journal about her work on election integrity. During the interview she was asked: How does election reform affect the representation of women in government?

"There's a strong association between the type of electoral system adopted and the representation of women. Proportional representation electoral systems tend to have twice as many women in parliament than those that use first-past-the-post or single member plurality systems like in the United Kingdom’s Upper Westminster or in the U.S. Congress. In addition, quotas have become very common. Over 100 countries have adopted gender quotas, designed to bring more women into parliaments. Many of these have been implemented through proportional representation systems, but some have also been implemented through majoritarian systems. Where there's effective affirmative action, implemented through the use of penalties for noncompliance, increasing the number of women in elected office has been very effective.
 
Those two tactics are some of the most effective reforms, along with thinking about things like campaign funding, capacity building, and how parliaments work. Bringing women in only to fail is not effective; you don't want to just increase the number of women, but you also want to expand their empowerment. Looking at basic things like how people became chairs of committees in parliaments and how they rise up from the ranks of backbenches helps. Those are important ways to enhance the voices of women, particularly in countries where women's rights are very much on the line and where increasing their empowerment can then increase their representation on many social issues, economic issues, and so on."      

 

The mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges, spoke this week about the value of ranked choice voting. I think this video - and others yet to be produced - will be helpful to those of you who are introducing this idea to your colleagues and friends!

Celinda Lake, of Lake Research Partners asked me to share the terrific National Women’s Law Center “Let Her Learn” reports (see attached) that focus on 8 subsets of girls:

  • Girls of color
  • Pregnant and parenting girls
  • Girls with disabilities
  • Girls in foster care
  • Girls who are homeless
  • Girls who have suffered harassment or sexual violence
  • Girls involved in the juvenile justice system
  • LGBTQ girls

Check out Gender Avenger's brand new tally app designed to help us all track women's participation everywhere!

 

Congrats to Emerge America featured on MSNBC this week!

 

SheShouldRun shared this great piece on Medium on the new group - Republican Women for Progress - I assume they will appreciate support on social media!

 

Our great allies It's Time Network is hosting a virtual convening on Tuesday, May 2nd at 3pm EST to talk about how to take action together - click here for information about how to sign up!

 

I will be speaking on a panel with a terrific lineup of experts on the role of data in our work for parity - please click here to RSVP for the event - please join us if you can - details are as follows:

  • Wednesday, May 3
  • 1:00 PM
  • 6th Floor, The Wilson Center
  • One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20004-3027


On May 10th, thousands of people will participate in 50/50 Day - check out the link to find a gathering near you. If you are in the DC area, please come to the Representation2020 office to toast equality and watch the 20 minute film together.

Onward to parity!

Cynthia

P.S. I got my very own copy of IGNITE's magnificent Writing Our Rights in the mail today! Order your own copy here.


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