Weekend Reading on Women's Representation March 31, 2017

By Cynthia Terrell on March 31, 2017

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Hello everyone!

As always, there is a lot happening in the world.

This weekend will mark the centennial of women's representation in Congress. Republican Jeannette Rankin was elected from a multi-winner district in Montana in November, 1916 and was finally allowed to take her seat on April 2, 1917. Democrats, whose presidential candidate carried the state by a huge margin, then gerrymandered her out of office by reverting to single winner districts. A century of evidence confirms this pattern: women are far more likely to run and win in multi-winner districts in cities, state legislatures and historically, when they were used in House elections. Rankin was even a fan of ranked choice voting - I am not making that up!

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Now that Women's History Month is drawing to a close, I declare April to be #WomensRepresentationMonth! Please join me in looking for ways to focus the discussion on the importance of representation and the many #paths2parity - we must seize control of the narrative and define the future we are seeking!


Congratulations to VoteRunLead and to Erin Vilardi on the launch of Run As You Are their newly branded and re-organized website! Please join me in sharing news of the launch on your social media platforms using the #RunAsYouAre hashtag.

 

Erin Vilardi writes "As you know, VoteRunLead is a training powerhouse. We recognize this political moment and are moving to meet the needs of women stepping up right now. Our data shows that prior to the elections, 60% of women looking to run had a five year plan in mind. Post-election, that same number are looking to run by 2020. Women are ready to run, and they are ready to run now! So, we are answering the call with new customized programming called “Run As You Are” and we hope you’ll help share this new initiative on your social media channels.


"Run As You Are is our tailored programming to meet today's political climate. It kicks off with a 3 part web training series that will 1) help women understand the transferable skills they already possess and how to market them in this new political environment, 2) challenge women to take 30 political actions in 90 days, accelerating the growth of their networks and relationships inside their local communities, and 3) show women how to map a campaign plan for running in 2018."

 

Link to the Facebook post to share and an image for Instagram:
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I was glad to join Tremaine Wright, Rina Shah and Erin Vilardi for a panel at the New York City Bar Association last week - you can watch the terrific discussion here.

 


Amrita Vetticaden - a teen writer from Phoenix - has a nice piece in Women's ENews about IGNITE's work to draw young women into the political process.

The Americas Society of the Council of the Americas issued a sweeping report on strategies to improve political representation in Latin America. Gender quotas are a prominent aspect of that strategy:
The report, A Seat at the Table: Five Steps to Making Latin American Politics More Diverse, shows women and indigenous, Afro-descendant, and LGBT people are still too often shut out of decision-making processes on the national, state, and municipal levels, and outlines concrete recommendations to get the region’s democracies moving in the right direction. Those recommendations are:
  • Commit to quotas. While every country in Latin America except Chile, Guatemala, and Venezuela has some form of legislated quota system in place to ensure women’s representation in politics, the results remain uneven.
  • Enforce quotas. To avoid quota laws being mere window dressing it is necessary to identify and close loopholes.
  • Form diverse alliances. One of the most natural ways for minority groups to win political support is by forming networks—and not always with the most obvious partners.

The European Institute for Gender Equality is the place to go for information about women in decision making roles in EU nations according to this update. Here is a great graphic revealing the latest data:

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She Should Run shared this piece from USA Today featuring author Sheryl Sandberg's reflections on the lack of progress toward equality - four years after 'Lean In' was published:
My goal is very clear, and I wrote about it in Lean In, which is that women run half our companies and countries and men run half our homes. As much as I wish that could happen in four years, I don't think that's a likely time period. But I think it can happen sooner than we think. Part of it is having that aspiration and that goal. I think we too often suffer from the tyranny of low expectations.
 

The Center for American Women in Politics reminded us of the data concerning the election of women of color in November 2016 - here are just some of the sobering statistics: 

Of the 1,806 women state legislators nationwide, 397 are women of color. They include 103 senators and 294 representatives. Women of color constitute 5.4% of the total 7,383 state legislators (as of 12/31/16). tag.rutgers.edu #WomensHistoryMonth

Finally, the New York Times wrote a strong editorial

about the revival of the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment - great to see this revitalized energy for the ERA - a classic example of a rule change to advance equality!
Thanks to each and every one of you,

Cynthia
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