Weekend Reading on Women's Representation January 8, 2016

By Cynthia Terrell on January 08, 2016

Here are a couple of pieces that caught my eye this week:

Adrienne Kimmell, executive director of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation wrote a piece that appeared in Refinery29 on the swearing double-standard for women politicians.

An article from the Texas Tribune on the under-representation of women in the Texas state legislature which, like so many others, does a good job explaining that women are under-represented but offers no real strategies to change that reality.

Former Texas comptroller, Susan Combs, offered this response in TribTalk concluding that "If you're a woman waiting for an invitation to get into politics, consider yourself invited. Whether you simply devote time to being a more informed, active voter or actually throw your hat in the ring as a candidate, it's time for the best of the best to engage in the process of governing — male and female alike."

In contrast to the disparity women face in America there has been some good news from abroad including this commentary by Cate Carrejo on 8 countries where women made progress toward equality, this scholarly article from the London School of Economics and Political Science on gender quotas in Ireland, and this story from the BBC on the Labour Party's former acting leader Harriet Harman calling "for a change in the party's rules to prevent another all-male team from leading the party."

This commentary from Steve Odland at CNBC outlines the case for increasing the percentage of women on corporate boards with language that mirrors the case for women's representation in elected office: "Clearly, we are under-utilizing our human capital. And unprecedented competition both here and abroad increasingly has made it a company performance issue. Boards sometimes can suffer from group think — they are at risk of not seeing and analyzing viewpoints that could strengthen their organization in the short-term and long-term. Broader insights are needed.Top-performing boards are ones that have diversity of input."

There will be a screening of Raising Ms President on January 31, at International House Philadelphia where fabulous filmmaker Kiley Lane Parker will speak about "why women don’t run for office, where political ambition begins and why we should encourage more women to lead."

Brittany Stalsburg and Bernard Whitman of Whitman Insight Strategies will host a reception for Representation2020 on January 20th at their offices in NYC. Here is a link for more information and to RSVP. Please feel encouraged to share with friends and colleagues in the NY area.

Finally, some of you may know that both my husband and I hail from old Quaker stock and so it is with some pride that I share these words from Lucretia Mott, a passionate feminist, abolitionist, and Quaker whose 223rd birthday was January 3rd.

The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation because in the degradation of woman the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source.

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