Weekend Reading on Women's Representation May 10, 2019

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on May 10, 2019


Afghan girls raise their hands during English class at the Bibi Mahroo high school in Kabul on Nov. 22, 2006. Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Foreign Policy had a very interesting piece on women's political power in Afghanistan - with fascinating contrasts to the debate on these same topics in the US and around the world. Of particular note is the classic duality between the letter of the law and the application of the law:
As it stands now, though, the Afghan Constitution focuses heavily on political rights. In fact, many of the protections it grants women aren’t even matched in Western democracies—notably, Afghan women are guaranteed equal rights under Article 22. The U.S. equivalent has yet to be ratified. Among Afghan women’s rights is representation in the country’s House of Elders, equal access to education, the ability to serve in the military, the ability to inherit land and property, and freedom of speech and from torture. Of course, most of these rights are neither fully enacted nor upheld in courts.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation May 3, 2019

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on May 03, 2019


Dear friends,

Maya Salam writes in The New York Times about the new organization SuperMajority that launched this week to support women's activism and engagement:

First came the 2016 presidential election, then came an avalanche of activism. There was the Women’s March, and ultimately, a record number of women ran for and were elected to political office. All the while, activist groups have sprung up in communities across the United States.

This week, a new organization, Supermajority, was introduced by a trio of high-profile, progressive leaders: Cecile Richards, the former president of Planned Parenthood; Alicia Garza, a founder of Black Lives Matter; and Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, which advocates for improved working conditions for domestic workers.

Their goal: to train and mobilize two million women to become organizers, activists and leaders ahead of the 2020 election — an effort Richards called a “women’s new deal.”

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation April 19, 2019

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on April 19, 2019


‘Women, don’t be afraid to participate in politics!’ Activists and politicians mark International Women’s Day in Banda Aceh in March. Photo by Irwansyah Putra for Antara.

Dear friends,
There was a fascinating story on women's representation in Indonesia from the University of Melbourne's Policy in Focus - it's a long piece and very worth reading. Here is an excerpt:

Indonesia first introduced affirmative action for gender justice through Law 31 of 2002 on Political Parties, which required political parties to “consider gender equality and equity” in the recruitment of legislative candidates and in political party structures from the national to the local level. After two rounds of revisions, in 2008 and 2011, the phrase “consider gender equality and equity” was strengthened to “include 30 per cent representation by women”.

While there were no sanctions for parties that ignored the 30 per cent rule, women’s representation in political party structures increased from 2003 to 2014, according to analysis by Cakra Wikara Indonesia (link is external) (CWI). In 2014, two political parties even exceeded the 30 per cent threshold in their organisational structures: the Democratic Party and Hanura.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation April 12, 2019

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on April 12, 2019


Kakenya Ntaiya, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucka, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo of Belgium, Heidi Hartmann, Melanne Verveer, and Hanna Kristjansdottir at American University College of Law this week
Dear friends,
It was a real pleasure to attend two great event this week in Washington, DC. On Wednesday the Washington College of Law at American University and the Institute for Women's Policy Research hosted a terrific event with gender equality experts (pictured above) who gathered to discuss the new book by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander de Croo entitled The Age of Women: Why Feminism Also Liberates Men:

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation April 5, 2019

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on April 05, 2019


Lori Lightfoot was elected mayor of Chicago - the 3rd largest city in the United States - becoming the first African American and first openly gay person elected to that office.
Many news outlets covered her victory including The Washington Post:

Voters in Chicago made history on Tuesday by electing Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, as the city’s first black female mayor. Her commanding victory capped a grueling campaign in which Lightfoot, who will become the city’s first openly gay mayor, defeated more than a dozen challengers en route to winning her first elected office.

Lightfoot, 56, is now set to lead the nation’s third-largest city as it continues to grapple with gun violence, alleged public corruption, ongoing efforts to reform the police force and an exodus of black residents. In the runoff election on Tuesday, she defeated Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, in a contest fraught with historic meaning, given that it featured two black women vying to succeed outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation March 29, 2019

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on March 29, 2019


Dear friends,
I had a piece in The Hill this week about how best to honor the legacy of the brave women whose work got us to where we are today, here is a short excerpt:

Sojourner Truth didn’t deliver her iconic “Ain’t I a Woman?” address for the sake of an inspirational Instagram post. Susan B. Anthony didn’t champion women’s voting rights for a special museum exhibit. A women-themed happy hour was hardly the motivation for Sacagawea’s dangerous trek across the country with Lewis and Clark.

Yet we continue to celebrate Women's History Month with hashtags and Ruth Bader Ginsburg swag.

We owe it to Sojourner and Susan and Sacagawea, and all the fearless women revolutionaries who came before us, to celebrate women not only in panel discussions and museum exhibits but with the institutional reforms that create fair and equal representation.

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Weekend Readin on Women's Representation March 22, 2019

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on March 22, 2019


(Sign painted on the wall of a local women's handicraft shop in Kathmandu)
I have had another very full week in Nepal meeting with staff from UN Women, members of Parliament, journalists and other women's representation experts. For the last three days I have been helping to lead an amazing gathering of democracy advocates from around the world who are all alums of the Community Solutions Program run by the US State Department. While I have really enjoyed everyone at the conference I have especially enjoyed getting to know women from Pakistan, Egypt, Uganda, Mongolia, Zambia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Tanzania, and Nepal whose work for women's equality is courageous. I hope to find ways to continue to work with these incredible women in the months and years to come.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation March 15, 2019

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on March 15, 2019


Hello friends,
Amidst an amazing array of adventures & meetings I stumbled into the shop of a fabulous young woman named Nasreen Sheikh in Kathmandu who is an eloquent & passionate advocate for the rights of women & girls. Here is a short video from my chance encounter with her and the TED talk she shared as follow up!

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation March 1, 2019

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on March 01, 2019


(Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle candidates for mayor of Chicago will advance to a runoff election)
Dear friends,
I am traveling today so this will be an unusually brief missive - I know I have said that before but this will really be brief!
Chicago voters selected two African American women Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle to advance to the runoff election according to this story in the Washington Post:

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Join us in turning public passion for gender parity into action and results