Weekend Reading on Women's Representation October 21, 2016

By Cynthia Terrell on October 21, 2016

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Finally, a reason to post a photo from the Trevi Fountain in Rome which graces this story from the London School of Economics and Political Science on how gender quotas are being used with success to diversify corporate boards in Italy:

Overall our results support the idea that not only gender quotas contribute to women’s empowerment, they may also encourage a better selection mechanism through the entry of qualified women. In countries such as Italy, dominated by a male gerontocracy, where boards of directors were not necessarily populated by the most competent and most qualified people for the job (Bianco et al., 2015), the introduction of gender quotas induces a beneficial restructuring of the boards, which is positively received by the market.

There was a very interesting interview on Radio New Zealeand about Advancing Models of Parliamentary Gender Quotas in the Pacific - I am intrigued by what we can learn from countries that are engaged in these conversations. Stay tuned for more opportunities for that discussion after the election!The Solomon Times reports on new research to investigate the barriers to women running and winning election in the Solomon Islands.

Another piece with a global perspective that is very worth reading is from the Press and Herald by Martin Gilbert -  Gender Equality Not Just a Moral Issue But Also an Economic and Business Issue - this and other conversations ground my sense that winning parity depends on working with the private sector to develop the messaging and the strategies that will get more women into positions of power.

​Laura Payton writes in the CTV News about MP Kennedy Stewart's gender equality bill - I have been very impressed with Stewart and his relentless work for parity in Canada - here is a link to the legislation and the preamble - I hope you will join me in supporting his efforts through social media. You can listen to his terrific speech. An read about the bill's fate...


Preamble
Whereas Canadians are committed to achieving gender equity in all aspects of political, economic and social life, including representation in Parliament;
Whereas equal access to Canada’s democratic institutions is a question of social justice;
Whereas women have never held more than 26% of the seats in the House of Commons or constituted more than 29% of the candidates in a federal election since first acquiring the right to run for office in 1920;
Whereas the systemic underrepresentation of women in politics is not caused by a lack of willingness to stand for elected office, but rather by barriers within the process used by political parties to select candidates;
Whereas currently, under the Canada Elections Act, political parties are eligible for a reimbursement of up to 50% of their election expenses provided they meet certain conditions and can at any time decline to receive this public subsidy;
And whereas all political parties lack an adequate incentive to promote parity in the candidates they nominate for a general election;
 

Back in the States, this article from Forbes examines Bloomberg's approach to driving gender equality in the corporate sector.

Kathryne LaBell writes about the under-representation of Black women in Hullabaloo and Eliza Newlin Carney writes in the American Prospect about whether 2016 will be another watershed year for women candidates.

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And the Running Start team attended Rep Don Beyer's #WomenTakeCharge event last weekend in Virginia. Don and Megan Beyer make quite a team as advocates for equality and parity!

Election day is fast approaching and with it the beginning of new opportunities to push for rules and systems that dismantle the structural barriers facing women candidates. The coming weeks will be a time to reflect on the status of women in elected office and consider the very best strategies for winning gender parity in our lifetimes.

Thanks for all you do,

Cynthia

P.S. Krist Novoselic (of FairVote & Nirvana fame) has been touring the country in his own little plane to push for ranked choice voting - the system used in a dozen cities that elects more women. Check him out on National Public Radio's WNYC, Fox Business, and an interview with the Portland Press Herald! Here are two more pieces about ranked choice voting: RealClearPolitics by former U.S. Senate candidate Greg Orman and Larry Diamond on BillMoyers.com and well as the leading Maine's paper's editorial endorsement!

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