Where in the World are the Women Leaders?

By RepresentWomen by on July 07, 2017

Taken the morning of July 7, this photo captures a pivotal gathering of the G20 leaders, the key drivers of the international economy. This is, of course, a noteworthy image, but not just because of the striking concentration of global power and authority in a single frame. There is something amiss in this group - and it is revealed in the sea of suits, ties, and balding heads that compose this photograph.

Read more

Why You Don't Know Who Pauli Murray Is, and Why You Should

By RepresentWomen by on July 03, 2017

pauli-murray-214111-1-402.jpgI have to preface this article with a confession: up until this month, I didn’t know who she was either. The first time I ever heard Pauli Murray’s name spoken, it came from the mouth of Professor Brittney Cooper amidst an impassioned speech on racial politics. As an enthusiastic feminist and a connoisseur of empowered women’s narratives, I was disappointed that I had no idea who Murray was until that moment. But I understood why I didn’t know – and why you probably don’t.


So, have you heard of Pauli Murray?


Read more

Weekend Reading on Women's Representation June 30, 2017

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on June 30, 2017


I am thrilled to report that the Fair Representation Act (H.R. #3057) was introduced by Rep Don Beyer (D VA) on Monday. When passed (!), THe FairRepAct will eliminate gerrymandering, reduce polarization, elect more women & partisans everywhere, and encourage civility by establishing ranked choice voting in multi-winner districts. In the shorter term we hope its introduction will spur a deeper conversation about the root causes of our electoral crisis and the innovative reforms necessary for a voter-driven democracy. Here are some of the press hits from this week's launch:

Read more

Weekend Reading on Women's Representation June 23, 2017

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on June 23, 2017


Happy 45th anniversary of Title IX!

I find Title IX inspiring because it established equitable educational and athletic opportunity for generations of girls and women in the United States but also because it provides a terrific model for the type of reform package we need to embrace to win gender parity for women in elected office - in our lifetimes! So let's all raise a glass tonight to toast this landmark legislation.

Tuti Scott, a woman I am thrilled to call a friend and colleague, wrote an excellent piece on HuffingtonPost on Title IX that is well worth reading. While another friend and colleague, Representation2020 intern Anna Sheibmeir wrote a great piece on how Title IX can inform this generation's call for political equality.

Read more

Progress Towards Gender Parity in French Legislative Election

By RepresentWomen on June 23, 2017



This past weekend marked significant progress toward gender parity in France. The final round of the French parliamentary elections was held on Sunday, June 18, when voters elected a record number of women to parliamentary seats. Out of the 577 seats, women now fill 223, beating the last election’s record of 115. This is a huge stride toward gender parity, as the French parliament is now 38.7 percent women. According to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the French parliament now ranks 17th in the world for women’s representation in parliaments, an impressive improvement from its previous 64th place finish. 

Read more

Learning from Past Structural Reforms: 45th Anniversary of Title IX

By RepresentWomen on June 23, 2017




“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”


This Friday, June 23, marks the 45th anniversary of Title IX. This landmark legislation, part of the United States Education Amendments of 1972, set out to ensure equal educational opportunities regardless of gender. This allowed for more women to attend college, earn scholarships, study STEM fields, and pursue advanced degrees. Title IX also became the basis for equality in athletics, which has helped increase the number of women who participate in high school sports by 900 percent. Today, Title IX provides protections against campus sexual harassment and assault – another example of its expansive reach.


The passage of Title IX meant young women in school could finally participate in sports at the same rate as their male counterparts. Without structural intervention, it could have taken decades or longer for women to reach equal participation organically. Today, the underrepresentation of women in elected office requires the same type of structural reform. Telling women to run for office is not enough alone – just as telling women to play more sports was not enough before 1972. The only way to catalyze progress toward gender parity is through innovative rules changes.

Read more

Weekend Reading on Women's Representation June 16, 2017

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on June 16, 2017


Dear all,

All eyes are on France this weekend to see the results from the final round of legislative elections this Sunday - read this article to rekindle your appreciation for the role that quotas play in catapulting more women into elected office. I know everyone feels apprehensive about using that term - but if we truly want to win parity in our lifetimes we need to embrace serious gender targets with enforcement mechanisms and consequences for non-compliance.

At least 245 women candidates topped their legislative races in Sunday night’s first round. If every one of those leading ladies won election next Sunday, France’s lower-house National Assembly would reach a high-water mark for its own gender parity at more than 42 percent – still not proper parity, but a relative giant leap for womankind in this chamber. In 2012, French voters elected 155 female lawmakers to the National Assembly, or nearly 27 percent, already a record. Only 20 years ago, in 1997, women still made up just 10.9 percent of the country’s lower-house lawmakers -- in a country that did not give women the right to vote until 1944.

To be sure, women made up a little more than 42 percent of the 7,877 candidates contesting the 577 seats up for grabs in these legislative elections. But the ratio of women candidates on the ballot is not necessarily a strong indicator of how many will win lawmaker roles. Recall that, in 2002, when a law came into effect penalising parties financially for not presenting a gender-equitable slate of candidates, women represented 39 percent of those standing for the legislature, but ultimately only 12.31 percent of those elected.

Read more

En Marche! and Gender Parity in the French Parliament

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on June 16, 2017



French voters recently led Emmanuel Macron of En Marche! to a landslide victory over far right candidate Marine Le Pen. One unique aspect of Macron’s campaign was his emphasis on gender parity. Following Macron’s win, En Marche! selected a gender balanced slate of candidates to run for parliament - 214 men and 214 women. As 72.4 percent of current French MPs are men, En Marche! had to reach outside the pool of seasoned politicians in order to add more women to its group of candidates. Fifty-two percent of the candidates selected by En Marche! have never run for another office.



Read more

UK Elections Show Impact of Gender Quotas

By RepresentWomen by on June 15, 2017



Last week, the U.K. election received mass media attention for its partisan outcome, but less so for its unprecedented election of women to Parliament. On Thursday, June 8th, the U.K. made national history by electing 208 women Members of Parliament - the highest number yet. While the new partisan breakdown sparked heated debate and disagreement, the overwhelming appreciation for this achievement crossed party lines. Many also celebrated the election of the first woman Sikh MP, Preet Kaur Gill, and the first Palestinian MP, Layla Moran.


Read more

Weekend Reading on Women's Representation June 9, 2017

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on June 09, 2017


​Hello all,

There were key races on both sides of the Atlantic this week that ground Representation2020's analysis of the structural barriers facing female candidates and the impact of intentional actions to accelerate the race to parity.

Ballotpedia reported on the results of the NJ state legislative primary on Tuesday. While we will not know final outcomes - and how many more women will hold office -  until the general election in November we do know that all of the incumbents who were running won and that:

The primary election on June 6, 2017, featured eight contested primaries: three Democratic races and five Republican races. This was a decrease from 2013, when there were 10 contested primaries: four Democratic races and six Republican races.

A total of four incumbents faced challengers in the 2017 primary elections: two Democrats and two Republicans. Five incumbents did not file for re-election in 2017: two Democrats and three Republicans.

Heading into the general election, Democrats hold a 24-16 majority. Republicans would need to flip five districts in order to take control of the chamber.

At the beginning of 2017, New Jersey was one of 19 states under divided government, with Republicans in control of the governorship and Democrats in control of the legislature. In most statewide elections leading up to the November 2017 elections, however, New Jersey leaned politically to the left.

Women made gains in the parliamentary elections this week in the UK winning 32% of the seats - an increase of 16 seats since 2015 - according to this story from the BBC. Intentional recruitment efforts by the parties are credited with this impressive seat gain. Sam Smethers, whom Susannah Wellford and I met in November in London, was quoted as saying:

The outcome of this election was a surprise to many pollsters, but it has seen more Labour women MPs elected. The Conservative Party has not seen a significant reduction in women MPs despite losing seats.

"But the real story is that progress has stalled. Getting more women in cannot be subject to party political fortunes. As we approach the centenary of women first getting to vote in general elections, we cannot wait for another nine elections to achieve equality.

"We agree with the recommendation of the cross-party Women and Equalities Select Committee that 45% of each party's candidates must be women. The time has come for a legally enforceable target to achieve the radical and sustainable change we need.

Read more