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Updates from RepresentWomen

What the U.S. House Bill on Sexual Harassment Could Mean for the Future

By Grace Knobler on April 25, 2018

A recent bill was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives modifying the way that sexual harassment cases are handled on Capitol Hill. The proposed bill would change many of the procedures that are currently in place under the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995. Per the 1995 act, victims are required to attend counseling for months before they are able to file a formal complaint about their sexual harassment.

The new bill would change this mandatory meditation period, allowing victims to take action as soon as they have experienced an incident of harassment or assault. Additionally, current victims of sexual harassment or assault do not have easy access to the resources they may need to receive fair representation.(1) The new bill provides victims with legal representation once a complaint has been filed. Finally, the new bill holds the sexual harasser accountable by using his or her own funds to pay the settlement. This differs from the current act in which the accused can use taxpayer dollars to pay sexual harassment settlements. Now, the person accused of sexual harassment is required to reimburse the U.S. treasury within 90 days, or their wages would be garnished.(2)

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation April 6, 2018

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on April 06, 2018


​Google celebrated Maya Angelou's birthday this week with this cover photo

Dear friends,

The big story this week in the United States is the record number of women running for the House of Representatives in 2018 - so far. Read CAWP's press release for more details. While it's fabulous that so many women are declaring their intention to run it's also important to keep this news in perspective:

  • The House of Representatives makes up just .08% of all the 520,000 elected offices in the United States
  • Democratic women candidates far outnumber Republican women candidates
  • Male candidates still outnumber female candidates
  • Recruitment targets, fair voting systems, & modern legislative workplace norms are all necessary to ensure that enduring progress toward parity is made for all women

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation March 30, 2018

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on March 30, 2018


There was a fascinating story in Civil Georgia about the defeat of proposed gender quota legislation in Georgia which had the support of the prime minister, many members of parliament and civil society groups. I will include the entire article because I think it's so important to appreciate how much more advanced the conversation about parity is outside of our borders:

The Parliament of Georgia has voted down today the legislative proposal which was to set mandatory quotas for women to help increase their representation in the Parliament and Sakrebulos (municipality councils).

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation March 23, 2018

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on March 23, 2018


Deb Haaland - Native American woman candidate for Congress from New Mexico

Dear friends,

There was a piece by Lindsay Miller in Pop Sugar about Deb Haaland who could become the first native American woman to serve in Congress:

Deb Haaland stands to make history. If the New Mexico Democrat's campaign is successful, the single mom could become the only Native American woman to ever serve in the United States Congress.

A citizen of the Laguna Pueblo nation, Haaland grew up the daughter of military parents. She went on to put herself through college and law school at the University of Mexico, often scraping by on food stamps and student loans to get by. In 2008, she worked the phones as a full-time volunteer for Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. Four years later, she was back on team Obama for his reelection campaign — this time as the Native American vote director. That experience encouraged Haaland, now 57, to step into the political foreground and run for Lieutenant Governor in 2014.

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Running Start uses ranked choice voting to elect #ILookLikeAPolitician Ambassador

By Antoinette Gingerelli on March 20, 2018


Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to attend Running Start’s 12th Annual Women to Watch Awards with my colleagues at RepresentWomen and FairVote. Running Start is a national nonprofit that works to inspire and train the next generation of young women political leaders. It was inspiring to be in the room with young women from all backgrounds and political affiliations determined to create change in our world and challenge what it means to look like a politician.

At the event, seven alumnae of Running Start’s programs competed to be the organization’s “#ILookLikeAPolitician Ambassador.” The selected woman would become the spokesperson for Running Start. Throughout the night each candidate gave a campaign speech. At the end of the evening attendees voted for the organization’s next ambassador using ranked choice voting.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation March 16, 2018

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on March 16, 2018


My dear friends,
Last Saturday, The Hill ran my piece entitled "Congress, like Hollywood, has a female representation problem" which I wrote to encourage a conversation about concrete steps that we should be taking to advance women's representation and leadership that will lead us to parity in our lifetimes - not in some distant century or millennium. Judging from the comments on the piece not everyone agrees with my proposals but I am hoping those of you on this listserv will read the piece and let me know what you think! Here is an excerpt:

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation March 9, 2018

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on March 09, 2018


This week millions of women and men around the world celebrated International Women's Day. I learned from Wikipedia that IWD is considered an official state holiday in over 40 countries and that people across the globe honor the women in their lives with small gifts or flowers. 

This week also marked the launch of ReflectUS - the coalition of women's organizations that includes RepresentWomen, LatinasRepresent, She Should Run, Empowered Women, IGNITE, VoteRunLead, Highter Heights, and Women Influencers - that are working together to test and advance new strategies to win gender parity - in our lifetimes! Thanks to all those who could help us celebrate in person!

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation March 2, 2018

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on March 02, 2018


I have been on the road this week in Canada with Jeanne Massey from FairVote Minnesota speaking to groups in cities that have already adopted ranked choice voting or will be voting to adopt #RCV this fall. It's been great to talk with a lot of Canadians about voting system reform and women's representation - two of my favorite topics.

Highlights of the trip included meeting terrific women candidates running for various offices, speaking in a centuries old church in the heart of Toronto & at the Queen's University art gallery with Rembrandts right around the corner, and dipping into conversations about ranked ballots that are happening across the idealogical and generational spectrum in Canada. 

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation February 23, 2018

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on February 23, 2018


My dear friends,

As I mentioned last week, RelfectUS - the new coalition of non-partisan organizations that are joining together to work for gender parity - is going live on March 6th! Please join us in person if you can - use this link to RSVP or email me directly with any questions!

I am also excited to announce that, thanks to the incredible work of Toni Gingerelli, RepresentWomen's Gender Parity Index Report is now live! We already have gotten some fun coverage including this story in Refinery29 that links to SheShouldRun's terrific campaign to find 250,000 women to run for office by 2030:

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation February 16, 2018

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on February 16, 2018


​The 2018 US Olympic bobsled team

Dear readers,

The 2018 US Olympic team is gender balanced in large part because of a system reform a generation ago called Title IX. Several years ago I wrote this piece on the need for a Title IX for women in politics to elect more women to office faster. While there are far more women running for office in 2018 than ever before, we need systems reforms to win parity for our daughters and our daughters' daughters (and sons).

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Join us in turning public passion for gender parity into action and results