Weekend Reading on Women's Representation November 18, 2016

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on November 18, 2016

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Dear friends,

I thought one of the best post-election pieces I read was this one by Michele Goodwin in Huffington Post entitled Tough Questions About Women and Politics in the Wake of Trump Presidential Victory.

While scholars and commentators might presume that female representation alone achieves gender equality or liberalizes women’s rights, such conclusions are misleading and inaccurate. Women’s political representation without a critical mass offers only scant access to power and minimal influence. This is not to say women shouldn’t be in high offices — they should and the time is overdue. To achieve a norm-shifting culture as well the enactment of regulations and legislation that promote women’s equality, requires more women on deck and the collaboration of men who can see beyond their colleagues’ skirts and pantsuits. It also will require Americans to shed implicit and explicit biases against women in leadership.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation November 11, 2016

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on November 11, 2016

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Dear all,

It has been quite a week.

The much-anticipated election of the first woman president did not happen. The number of women governors declined from six to five - with three of those five being out in 2018 due to term limits and the remaining two women facing competitive bids for re-election. Women gained only one seat in the U.S. Senate despite several strong women challengers.

In U.S. House elections, women will hold one fewer seat. Disturbingly, we may be reaching the kind of equilibrium in the House that we now see in state legislative races. In 1993, women held more than 20% of state legislative seats. In the years since, they never have reached 25%. Without systematic intervention and structural change, women may be reaching a similar "glass ceiling"  in Congress that will make it very hard to advance beyond 25%.

House races underscore the need for structural change to open up opportunities for women. FairVote closely tracks House races in its Monopoly Politics reports. Out of 435 House seats, only 12 changed parties. Incumbents won 98% of their races, and open seats closely tracked whichever party had even the slightest partisan advantage. Oddly, in a year of such voter rebellion at the top of the ticket, incumbents not only won, but on average won by some 8% more than the nominee of their party would likely have won in an open seat.

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Post-Election Gender Parity Rankings: Will New Hampshire Lose its Number 1 Spot?

By Kelsey Kober on November 08, 2016

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New Hampshire is a national leader when it comes to the representation of women in politics. Three women have held the state governorship and New Hampshire was the first and only state to send an all-female delegation to Congress in 2012. Additionally, New Hampshire was the first state in the nation to have a majority female state legislative chamber (in the state Senate in 2009 - 2010); as of October 2016, the New Hampshire General Court is almost 30% female.

 

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Minter Likely Loses Vermont Governor Race

By Kelsey Kober on November 08, 2016

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It’s widely acknowledged that women are vastly underrepresented in politics, despite making up over half of the electorate. Nowhere is this gap more profound than in the governor’s mansion; currently, women make up a pitiful 12% of gubernatorial offices. Vermont gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter (D) came close to shutting this gap, but appears, on early results, to have been defeated by current lieutenant governor Phill Scott (R) on Tuesday night, in the safe Democratic state.

 

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It's Time for New Strategies to Elect More Women & Win Gender Parity

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on November 08, 2016

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The nation may wake up tomorrow to its first woman president and a record number of women Senators, but down ballot, the news is not good for women in elected office. At least 44 governors will be men next year, and the U.S rank among all nations for the representation of women has declined from 44th in 1995 to 96th in 2016. To win gender parity, intentional action and structural changes are necessary at every level of government.

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What Election Night 2016 Holds in Store for Women Candidates

By Kelsey Kober on November 08, 2016

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Much fanfare has been made about the possibility of electing a woman President of the United States this Election Day. But beyond this could-be monumental event, our nation still has much work to do for improving the election of women. The United States lags behind many other nations in women’s representation, coming in at a dismal 96th place. Moreover, most U.S. states are a long way from achieving gender parity in their congressional delegations, state executive offices, state legislatures and local offices. The 2016 elections present an opportunity to make incremental improvements in the dismal state of representation of American women in elected office at all levels of government.

Here’s what to look out for on Tuesday night:

 

 

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As the 2016 Election Approaches, Gender Parity Remains Elusive

By Kelsey Kober on November 04, 2016

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Representation2020, a project of FairVote, has just released its pre-election Gender Parity Index. It shows that on the eve of election 2016, in which we might elect our first female president, 49 of 50 states remain a long, long way from gender parity in elected office. Women constitute just 19% of Congress, 24% of state legislatures, 19% of mayors in our 100 largest cities, and a miniscule 12% of governorships across the country.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation November 4, 2016

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on November 04, 2016

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Wow.

Only a few days to go in an election that has torn the scabs off the wound that is our electoral system. Regardless of the results up and down the ballot on Tuesday the Pandora's Box of electoral dysfunction is now wide open and the moment is ours to fix systems - be they cultural, political, professional, or electoral - that disadvantage women candidates.

The complexity of the problem must inform our collective work - there is no one reason that the United States ranks behind 95 nations in the representation of women. Nor is there one solution.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation October 28, 2016

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on October 28, 2016

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Dear friends,

I'll start with a brief election update though many of you who are on the ground in states may have a better sense of how state and federal races are unfolding.

The race for president has been anything but predictable but Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight election forecast projects that Hillary Clinton has an 81.2% chance of winning. Regardless of your political perspective I think we can agree that it will be a relief when this campaign comes to an end.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation October 21, 2016

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on October 21, 2016

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Finally, a reason to post a photo from the Trevi Fountain in Rome which graces this story from the London School of Economics and Political Science on how gender quotas are being used with success to diversify corporate boards in Italy:

Overall our results support the idea that not only gender quotas contribute to women’s empowerment, they may also encourage a better selection mechanism through the entry of qualified women. In countries such as Italy, dominated by a male gerontocracy, where boards of directors were not necessarily populated by the most competent and most qualified people for the job (Bianco et al., 2015), the introduction of gender quotas induces a beneficial restructuring of the boards, which is positively received by the market.

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