Weekend Reading on Women's Representation February 5, 2016

By Cynthia Terrell on February 05, 2016

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Dear friends,

The extraordinary Frederick Douglass was born in February 1818 and died on February 20, 1895. His devotion to women's suffrage, among many causes, was so complete that in 1872 he was chosen to be the running mate of Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president of the United States. They ran together on the Equal Rights Party ticket. Cedar Hill, his home in Washington, DC, is an amazing place to visit.

This week in politics, Hilary Clinton became the first woman to win the Iowa caucuses while many stories discussed the possibility of women being required to register for the Selective Service. This story in Refinery29 raises questions that have been swirling around this topic ever since Phyllis Schlafly began organizing against the Equal Rights Amendment - claiming that passage of an ERA would result in women registering. Schlafly's influence on the Grand Old Party eroded the republicans' century-long leadership on women's equality and representation.

Other news stories of note this week include this piece in TIME on how the 'gender card' is being played in the presidential race. While the Washington Post reveals a fascinating portrait of attitudes about feminism that is well worth reading. New Gallup Poll survey data ranks New Hampshire as the least religious state which corroborates Representation2020's analysis which shows that religiousness is the most accurate predictor of women's representation. Not surprisingly, New Hampshire ranks first in the nation on Rep2020's Gender Parity Index.

I asked Laura Liswood of the Council of Women World Leaders to reflect on her experience at Davos this year, here is her response.

"The World Economic Forum at Davos 2016 Annual Meeting saw a dramatic increase in the number of programs focused on gender parity, women's empowerment and leadership.  Both within the Congress Hall and at side events, there were panel discussions about women and the internet, women and sciences, Beijing +20, a women's leadership dinner with Christine Lagarde and many other sessions sponsored by corporations and those organized by the Forum. 

I have been coming to Davos for 16 years and for the first several years, the only women's oriented meeting was at a hotel outside the Hall and fewer than 4% of the attendees at the official meeting were women.  In 2016, 18% of the attendees were women and a plenary was dedicated to gender parity with Sheryl Sandberg, Melinda Gates, and others discussing the topic 'Why will it take 80 more years to reach gender parity?'  

(18% might seem low but the Forum does not control who the corporations send and that is their CEO and Chairman usually.  There are fewer than 4% Fortune 500 women CEOS, so the pool is small.  Strategic Partners get four attendee slots; if they bring a high level woman, they receive an additional slot.  The Young Global Leaders, whom the Forum picks are 50/50 men and women.
 
The closing panel was about "Being Human"-not specifically focused on women.  The progress was that there were four women scientists and one man.  No comment was needed by Klaus Schwab, Founder of the World Economic Forum the moderator.  The image spoke for itself.

We all wish more progress could be made, more rapidly.  But if Davos is a bellwether for changes for women, there is hope."

Check out Huffington Post for an interview with Laura on her thoughts about "What It Will Take to Get to Women's Equality in 2016."

And finally, Daily Kos offers a great guide to international elections in 2016.

To The Contrary with Bonnie Erbe will air this weekend featuring these topics - Young Women as Candidates, Should Women Register for the Draft, and Football & Feminism - and an excellent panel of speakers.

The Institute for Women's Policy Research is hosting an event with the Women's Research & Resource Center at Spelman College on Thursday, February 25th on Spelman campus in Atlanta. Experts will discuss strategies to achieve gender equality for women in the southern states. I look forward to learning more about this vitally important topic and hope that our friends at IWPR will report back!

On March 18-19th the Center for American Women and Politics will host their Ready to Run training program for women at Rutgers-New Brunswick. Learn more about the terrific speakers and how to register here.

Applications for the 2016 Summer Session of the Women's Campaign School at Yale - June 13th through June 17th - are now being accepted - apply here!

She Should Run is hiring a Digital and Creative Manager - check out the job description here.

With parity in mind,

Cynthia

P.S. Our fabulous colleagues at VoteRunLead were honored to honored this week by Civic Hall in NYC! Congratulations to Erin Vilardi and her terrific team!

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