Weekend Reading on Women's Representation May 5, 2016

By Cynthia Terrell on May 05, 2016

Dear friends,

The PBS News Hour had a good segment in April on the history of female presidential candidates - which is an important reminder of the long struggle to break that 'highest glass ceiling' - a woman winning the presidency.

There were a number of women winners in various races in states that have voted - CAWP has a good summary. There is an interesting story on Harmeet Dhillon entitled She's Bucking The Stereotype That The GOP Is Too Old, Too Male, Too White. Harmeet was elected to be a Republican National Committeewomen from California. Another emerging voice in the GOP, Rina Shah Bharara, was featured in a Washington Post article after having her election to be a delegate to the GOP convention revoked because she was vocal in her opposition to the presumptive nominee.

FairVote features a blog based on a spreadsheet that looks in depth at vote tallies for all of the presidential candidates - including those who have suspended their campaigns. The spreadsheet offers some great perspective on levels of support for the candidates.

There is a new Colorado-based PAC that is committed to discouraging white men from running for office - MSNBC did a story on the new group - Can You Not PAC - check it out!

Parliamentarians in Canada are leading the critique of their voting system - which the US shares with Canada and Britain's other former colonies (a dubious distinction).

First-past-the-post to blame for gender inequality is one story that begins with this quote "If Canada truly wants a level gender playing field in Parliament, the current electoral system needs to go" and continues with “First-past-the-post means that those with the deepest history of being elected will continue to be elected because everybody knows their name. Other types of electoral systems often lead to a greater representation of women as well as different kinds of diversities.”

Another piece in HuffPost Politics Canada entitled Gender Parity In Politics Can't Wait Another 100 Years points to many of the same institutional remedies that Representation2020 supports to correct years of gender imbalance in parliament.

I plan to connect with women from Canada along with women in Britain and Northern Ireland (later in June) to discuss ways to develop a campaign for recruitment targets and voting system reform in the remaining British colonies that still use antiquated winner take all voting systems. Stay tuned for more on that - possible names for the group include Victims Of Terrible Election Systems - I will let you guess at the acronym!

And from the world of academia, another volume on politics and gender entitled Invisible Women? Comparing Candidates' New Coverage in Europe that explores news coverage of men and women candidates - here is a blurb on the findings:  

Past studies, largely based on the United States, have argued that differential coverage of men and women candidates could explain the lack of women in elected political office. We investigate, first, whether a gender bias exists in coverage of candidates and, second, the possible mechanisms underlying any differences in the amount and tone of candidates’ news media coverage. Using data from the 2009 European Election Study Media Analysis, drawn from media coverage in 25 EU member states during the European Parliament election campaigns, we find that, similar to previous research, there is evidence of a gender gap in the amount of media coverage. Even for highly prominent and competitive candidates, the gender bias in media coverage remains. However, this bias in media coverage largely reflects the parties’ preselection of viable candidates and that where there are remedies in place to address the underrepresentation of women (i.e., quotas), women candidates actually have lower visibility in campaign coverage. We also find that, though women candidates are more often the subject of valence evaluations in news stories, male candidates are more negatively evaluated in news stories.

Filing this a day early so that I can travel to see my oldest daughter graduate from college this weekend!

Onward toward parity!

Cynthia

P.S. Sign up for VoteRunLead's Dare To Lead on June 18th!

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