Women make up more than half of the U.S. population, yet the majority of elected and appointed positions in government are held by men.
Political insiders control who gets recruited to run for office, partisanship and winner-take-all voting often determines who wins, and antiquated legislative rules impact who can serve and lead.
The problem isn't just convincing more women candidates to run for office. The problem is there are structural and institutional barriers that limit women's odds of success at every stage of the electoral process.
To advance women's representation and leadership in the United States, we need to complement existing candidate-centric practices with innovative systems strategies.
Electing more women to government will strengthen our democracy by making it more representative, reviving bipartisanship and collaboration, improving policy outcomes, encouraging a new style of leadership, and cultivating trust in our elected bodies.
Modern legislative rules like onsite childcare so more women can serve effectively.
Recruitment targets for political parties & gatekeepers so more women run, and giving targets for PACs & donors so more women run viable campaigns.
Ranked choice voting for executive & legislative offices so more women win.
Rankin Chisolm Rule for political appointments & hiring so more women lead.
Join the work for systems strategies that address the structural barriers women face & enable sustained progress toward gender balance in representation and leadership in the United States.
One hundred year ago, suffragists - who were nearly all Republicans (including my Quaker ancestors) - were on the brink of winning the franchise. Soon thereafter, emboldened by their success with suffrage, Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman wrote the first Equal Rights Amendment which was introduced in Congress in 1923. Despite opposition from human rights stalwarts like Eleanor Roosevelt, support for a modern ERA grew through the 1960s & 1970s until it was a standard plank in party platforms of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Representative Martha Griffiths - the first woman elected to Congress from Michigan - re-introduced the ERA in Congress in 1971 where it was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on October 12, 1971 and by the U.S. Senate on March 22, 1972. After passage in Congress it was sent to the states for ratification which triggered an intense period of organizing led by Molly Yard, Ellie Smeal, Gloria Steinem and many others to ensure passage.Read More
There are now 26 women in the United States Senate following the swearing in this week of Kelly Loeffler from Georgia - this is the highest number of women to serve in the U.S. Senate - ever - according to this story from Politico: Republican Kelly Loeffler was formally sworn in Monday as the newest senator from Georgia, replacing retired Sen. Johnny Isakson and becoming only the second woman to represent the state in the Senate. “This is the most women to ever serve in the Senate, and it comes at a time when we need more diverse voices in politics, not fewer,” they said in a joint statement. “It took 27 years to go from two women to 26, and we should be able to reach equal representation in the Senate much more quickly.”Read More
Happy 2020. It's a big year for many reasons. It's of course the centennial of the 19th amendment that granted most women the right to vote. It's the sesquicentennial of the 15th amendment that granted men of color the right to vote. It's an election year in the United States. And it's a year that demands we come together with people around the globe to pass legislation and enact laws that protect our environment, nurture diplomacy, advance women's representation, and address the economic, educational and health needs of everyone - no exceptions. Our individual and collaborative work is essential.Read More