Weekend Reading on Women's Representation January 27, 2017

By Cynthia Terrell on January 27, 2017

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Dear friends,

NYMagazine profiles the 9 Black female judges who were elected in Alabama - an impressive development and a very interesting story. I am researching the number of women who get elected vs those who get appointed and compiling statistics on the numbers of women of color. I think that's an arena which is ripe for intentional actions such as gender targets for the appointed seats.

The election of these judges was welcome news during a week in which the number of women governors in the United States fell to just 4 with the confirmation of Nikki Haley as the US ambassador to the United Nations. While I am glad to see the new president appoint a woman to his largely-male cabinet I am sorry for the drop in female governors.

Angelic Young had a terrific piece in The Hill about why the new administration must invest in women because it a smart business:

Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson said he has “seen firsthand the impact of empowering women, particularly empowering women’s participation in economic activities…there is study after to study to confirm that when you empower women in these developing parts of the world, you change the future of the country because you change the cycle in that family.
And a good piece in The West Australian amplifies this point even more. 

There was an interesting article about women's inequality in Turkey in the World Politics Review that caught my eye - women comprise just 15% of Turkey's parliament according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

The Ms Foundation released a nice video titled Votes for Women: We Won't Go Back - a poignant reminder of legacy of of all the many women who have struggled for equality.

The Atlantic had a piece on the many ways in which feminism flourished on Mary Tyler Moore's show while Maureen Ryan wrote a blog: "How Mary Tyler Moore Paved the Way for Complicated Women on TV" the opening of her popular TV show will be familiar to many.

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​For those of you who are especially interested in the root causes of the dysfunction at all levels of government I hope you will read Lee Drutman's fabulous piece - he makes the case for the voting system reforms (multi-winner districts with ranked choice voting for Congress and state legislatures) that would elect more women candidates.

If states were to restore multi-member districts—ideally, districts would each have at least five representatives—more third parties would emerge. Voters would get more choices, and it would be harder for extremists to take over a major party. It would also be easier for factions to emerge within the two parties, producing more multi-dimensional bargaining in the legislature and better representation in the electorate, as voters would get more choices.

I imagine a number of us marched last Saturday in one city or another - I suspect the glue that binds us across partisan labels and geographic boundaries is a belief that women's equality is fundamental. Though I didn't hear a single word of any speech or even see the stage - tucked into Independence Ave in Washington, DC,  I found it exhilarating to be among so many joyous people ready to work together for a stronger democracy and a brighter world for women.

Grateful for your work and your friendship,

Cynthia

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