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.
This year marks the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. A hundred years after suffragists fought for and won the right to vote, women voters—empowered by the feminist, civil rights and LGBTQ movements—will likely determine the outcome of the high-stakes elections of 2020. Indeed, the power of women voters and feminist candidates to secure women’s rights is right now on display in Virginia, where the State House and Senate have just voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, making theirs the 38th and final state needed to add women to the Constitution.Read More
In recent years we have seen a rise of female representation in governments throughout the world owing in part to certain measures that have been taken allowing for more women in politics. One such measure, albeit a controversial one which to this day stirs quite a debate ranging from it defying the principle of equal opportunity to being outright undemocratic, is the gender-based quota imposed by governments to ensure a substantial female legislative representation. Governments in the MENA region have also taken this issue in stride, a great example of this is seen in the UAE’s Federal National Council (FNC), where the female participation quota has been increased to fifty per cent in an attempt by the government to cement the legislative and parliamentary role of women in the nation's development. Topping this growing list of governments with the greatest gender parity is Rwanda where women make up 61.3% of the lower houseRead More
While it has been a very busy week politically in Iowa and in Washington, DC, it is the eve of another increasingly political event - the Oscars - this coming Sunday evening. RepresentWomen's terrific research fellow Maura Reilly wrote It’s Time for the OscHers: When Will the Academy Honor Female-Driven Storytelling? that ran in the celebrity online news source The Wrap this week. Be sure to cast your ranked vote for best woman director in our online poll - we will release the results Sunday night: Support for movies, television and books that exemplify women and girls’ perspectives is not just about being recognized at award shows. The Geena Davis Institute has found the portrayal of women and girls in media directly impacts how young girls view their own abilities and options. “If they can see it, they can be it,” Davis has said, noting that the first step to gaining gender equality and equal opportunity is allowing young girls to imagine any role, job and life that they want for themselves. One of the biggest barriers for women reaching the highest levels of elected office is the perception of female leaders. The first step has to be normalizing the idea of female leaders across all fields — whether elected, appointed or fictional.Read More