By Cynthia Richie Terrell on March 20, 2020
Jacinda Ardern with her partner & baby, The New York Times
Ardern has infused New Zealand with a new kind of soft power. When she visited the U.K. to meet Queen Elizabeth II, who is still New Zealand’s head of state, she wore a kahu huruhuru, a feathered cloak bestowed by Maoris on people of honor. Lots of world leaders try the trick of celebrating a nation’s first peoples by donning the local dress. But Ardern, visibly pregnant at the time, didn’t wear her gift with the awkwardness of Western leaders who show up at local photo shoots in guayaberas or floral headdresses. She rocked it. “Other countries want to be associated with what she represents,” says Hayward. “That’s what’s unusual. She’s not having to ask for the time. The doors are opened because it’s helpful for other leaders to be associated with her.”
BREAKING NEWS: We found a country that has achieved gender equality!
In Equiterra all people have equal rights and opportunities, regardless of their gender. Women and girls feel safe when walking at night. They get paid equally as men, for work of equal value.
Men and women share chores and care duties at home, and they can access high quality care at affordable rates. Isn’t that fabulous!
No one is talking about ‘at least 30 per cent’ quota for women in political leadership in Equiterra anymore — men and women are equally represented in political offices, corporate boardrooms and factory floors. Women have equal say in decisions that affect their lives, their bodies, their policies, and their environment. Girls are as valued as boys are, and people of all gender and sexuality feel safe and equal.
This is what gender equality looks like. Join us for a tour of its bustling capital!
In addition to the foundation’s 20th anniversary, this year marks another milestone I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: the 25th anniversary of the Beijing World Conference on Women. (If that name doesn’t ring a bell, you may know it as the event where Hillary Clinton famously declared that “Human rights are women's rights, and women’s rights are human rights.”)
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.
Dorothy Height, Ruby Bridges, Ida B Wells, Condi Rice, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Michelle Obama, Shirley Chisholm, Toni Morrison and Ruth Bader Ginsburg
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.
In her 2019 Golden Globes acceptance speech, Regina King commited to reaching gender parity in all the work she produces over the next two years, and then added, “I challenge anyone out there who is in a position of power, not just in our industry, in all industries, I challenge you to challenge yourselves and stand with us in solidarity to do the same.” King’s challenge should be taken up: Until we acknowledge the problem and commit to correcting it, we will never reach gender parity, in film or politics or business. Until our culture, norms and institutions begin to value women, their work, achievements and perspectives as inherently equal to men, we must actively support the female filmmakers and storytellers who are producing female-driven stories. While women directors were shut out of the 2020 Oscar nominations, RepresentWomen would like to introduce our own ballot for the Best Women-Directed Films of 2019, and urge you to rank your favorites.
When Women Vote highlights the challenges Americans, particularly women, face when trying to vote in the current voting system, and the amazing things that happen with reform. We make the case for further voting reform and for removing bias in the voting process by sharing stories and experiences of women voters and leaders throughout the United States.
“Our democracy depends on every vote being counted and every voice being heard. I am grateful for this book highlighting the vital importance of empowering women - from every spectrum, perspective and walk of life - to raise their voice and ensure that they are heard in every powerful room in our country.”
—Jocelyn Benson, Michigan Secretary of State
The struggle for the Nineteenth Amendment and full voting rights for women in the United States has had a long and complicated history. Even though women’s suffrage is the foundational struggle for women’s rights, much of the rhetoric, political considerations, and, at times, regressive outcomes, mirrors that of the modern fight for equal representation of women in elected office.