Sahiba Gafarova Named First Woman Speaker of the House in the history of the Azerbaijan National Assembly

By RepresentWomen by on February 12, 2021

By Lexi Long

Sahiba Gafarova

In a March 2020 vote, representatives of the National Assembly elected Sahiba Gafarova to be Azerbaijan’s first woman Speaker of the Assembly. While Azerbaijan was the first Muslim-majority state to grant women the right to vote and stand for election in 1918, the government has struggled to empower women to successfully run and win seats at both the federal and local levels.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation February 5, 2021

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on February 05, 2021


Claudette Colvin
Dear women's representation enthusiasts,
I have always felt a little conflicted about Black History Month and Women's History Month. On the one hand there is a risk of ignoring the many contributions of women and African Americans during the remaining 11 months but on the other hand it's an opportunity to focus on true American leaders who have set the stage for the work we are doing now. Claudette Colvin, interviewed by Roni Jacobson for Teen Vogue, explains her pivotal & pioneering role in the civil rights movement:

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Ranked Choice Voting Returns to New York City

By Kaycie Goral by on February 04, 2021

The launch of the "Yes on 1" campaign Summer 2019, Photo Source: RepresentWomen

On Tuesday, ranked choice voting (RCV) returned to New York City - putting an end to a 74 year hiatus of the voting system. Following the success of the “Yes on 1” ballot measure in November 2019, ranked choice voting will be used for the first time since 1947 in NYC to fill a Queen’s city council seat that has been vacant since November 2020. In the coming months, ranked choice voting will also be used in at least four local elections and the highly-contested New York City mayoral primary in June.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation January 29, 2021

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on January 29, 2021


Source: RepresentWomen
Dear friends,
The Biden Harris administration is moving quickly to enact policies that will address the unfolding economic & healthcare crises in the United States while also assembling a cabinet and senior leadership team that better reflects America. My piece in The Fulcrum this week explores leadership positions for women in the new administration:

President Biden's proposed Cabinet would have 24 members. Assuming the newly Democratic Senate confirms all of his nominees, a process that got started last week, it would be the most diverse Cabinet in history and the first to reach gender balance.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation January 22, 2021

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on January 22, 2021


Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayer swearing in Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday at the Capitol
Dear friends,
This week's inauguration of a new administration was at once a testimony to the power of our democratic traditions and an embrace of new voices & diverse leadership. According to this piece by columnist Monica Hesse in The Washington Post, American democracy has finally passed the Bechdel test with Justice Sonia Sotomayer swearing in our nation's first woman vice president, Kamala Harris:

The promise of a Joe Biden presidency was a return to normalcy, but 62 seconds of Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony were quietly revolutionary. Not the soar of Amanda Gorman’s poem, or the thunderous power of Lady Gaga using a golden microphone to belt the national anthem. In a ceremony filled with artistic creations specifically designed to arouse emotions of patriotism and pride, the 62 seconds that did so most effectively were from a bland, scripted oath of office, administered with the same exchange of words for more than a hundred years. But never between two women.

“Please raise your right hand and repeat after me,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor instructed soon-to-be Vice President Kamala D. Harris. And Harris did.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation January 15, 2021

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on January 15, 2021


Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (L) delivers remarks after U.S. President-elect Joe Biden (R) announced her as his Commerce Secretary nominee at The Queen theater on January 08, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Dear friends,
Next week, Kamala Harris will become the first woman in our nation's history to take the oath of office to serve as vice president of these United States. The leadership team that she and president-elect Joe Biden have assembled is the most diverse in history. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate the new cabinet will be majority people of color and gender balanced, according to this story on

President-elect Joe Biden on Friday introduced key nominees for his economic and jobs team, including Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo for commerce secretary and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for labor secretary.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation January 8, 2021

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on January 08, 2021


Senate staffers carrying certified presidential results to safety in the Capitol on Wednesday
Dear women's representation advocates,
While we don't yet know the short-term consequences of Wednesday's rampage on the Capitol we do know a few things: women Senate staffers had the presence of mind to grab the mahogany boxes containing certified presidential results from the states & carry them to safety, the police and others assigned to protect our elected representatives & our democratic process failed to do so, and the polarization caused by our winner take all politics is dangerous.
Individuals must be held accountable for their actions, but we must also redesign the institutions that drive the animus that has become commonplace and reached an apex on Wednesday.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation December 30, 2020

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on December 30, 2020


The amazing young women who are pictured above were part of the RepresentWomen team in 2020!
Dear friends and allies,
On this penultimate day of 2020 I am writing to ask you to consider supporting RepresentWomen with a donation of any size so that we can build our capacity to make serious and sustained progress toward gender balance in politics in the coming decade.
As you know, our work is focused on identifying the structural barriers that women face as candidates and elected officials and then turning that research into policies that address those barriers so that more women can run, win, serve, and lead.

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