Weekend Reading on Women's Representation January 21, 2022

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on January 21, 2022

Stacey Abrams, painted by Melanie Humble

Dear fans of gender balance in politics,
There was an encouraging story on NBC News about the number of Black women who are running for statewide executive office in 2022, including democracy reform champions Stacey Abrams, who is running for governor of Georgia, & Danielle Allen, who is running for governor of Massachusetts:

Black women’s representation has steadily increased in Congress and state legislatures, but they have still struggled to win statewide races. No Black woman has ever been elected governor, and there are no Black women serving in the U.S. Senate after Kamala Harris vacated her seat to become vice president.

That could change this year.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation January 14, 2022

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on January 14, 2022

NY governor Kathy Hochul

Dear fans of gender balance in politics,
Barbara Rodriguez wrote this interesting piece in The 19th* about NY governor Kathy Hochul's proposed term limit legislation that could well provide more women the chance to run and win - especially in conjunction with targeted recruitment & other reforms:

In New York City, where the new 51-member city council is women-majority for the first time ever, organizations like 21 in ‘21 intentionally focused their attention on races without incumbents. More than 30 council seats were open because of term limits.

“Open seats were the only places that we chose to play, because those were the places that we knew there was tremendous opportunity,” said Jessica Haller, executive director for the group.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation January 7, 2022

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on January 10, 2022

Front row (from left): Althea Stevens, Marjorie Velázquez, Lynn Schulman, Gale Brewer, Kamillah Hanks, Vickie Paladino, Sandy Nurse, Tiffany Cabán, Shahana Hanif, and Julie Won. Middle row: Farah Louis, Joann Ariola, Linda Lee, Julie Menin, Darlene Mealy, and Mercedes Narcisse. Back row: Amanda Farías, Alexa Avilés, Rita Joseph, Crystal Hudson, Carmen De La Rosa, Nantasha Williams, and Pierina Sanchez. Not pictured: Adrienne Adams, Diana Ayala, Selvena Brooks-Powers, Jennifer Gutiérrez, Kristin Richardson Jordan, Carlina Rivera, Sandra Ung, and Inna Vernikov. Photo: Victor Llorente/Victor Llorente

Dear friends,
As of this week, women hold 31 of the 51 seats on the New York City Council. While there was no single factor that led to this outcome the newest ingredient in the mix was the introduction of ranked choice voting and organizations like 21 in 21 that focused on using RCV in every part of the recruitment and endorsement process so that the women running knew how to use the system to their advantage. 

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation December 17, 2021

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on December 17, 2021

bell hooks, painted by Melanie Humble
 
For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?   bell hooks
Dear fans of gender balance in politics,
Celebrated and beloved feminist author bell hooks died this week sparking an outpouring of appreciation for her life and work that influenced so many of us. This obituary from the LA Times offers a window into her childhood:

Born Sept. 25, 1952, and raised in Hopkinsville, Ky., hooks was the fourth of seven siblings born to Veodis and Rosa Bell Watkins. Her love of reading began as a child, and she learned to read and write at an early age. Her sisters, who shared an upstairs bedroom with her, said she would always keep the light on well into the night and would often hear the sounds of her writing or turning a page before appealing to their mother to get her to stop.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation December 3, 2021

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on December 03, 2021

Many women around the world—as with these traders in Liberia—work in the informal economy (ImageArc/shutterstock.com)

 
Dear fans of gender balance in politics,
Those who are concerned about the health of democracy in the United States - which I believe should be all of us - would do well to read this sharp piece by 

Irune Aguirrezabal about a new social contract based on meeting the needs of women:

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation November 26, 2021

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on November 26, 2021

Dear fans of women's representation, 
I suspect many readers in the United States are celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family this weekend so I will keep this missive short & sweet!
In August my daughters and I drove to North Carolina to visit RepresentWomen's artist in residence, Melanie Humble. As we drove south, we listened to Braiding Sweetgraass by Robin Wall Kimmerer -- a member of Potawatomi Nation. Through the author's rich storytelling we learned about the Thanksgiving Prayer, recited by the six nations of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) at the opening and closing of meetings:

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation November 19, 2021

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on November 19, 2021

Dear fans of women's representation and gender balance in politics,
This week has been a busy one in Washington, DC with important discussions about redistricting on Capitol Hill, in-person fundraising events with democracy advocates, and the launch of More Voice DC in support of ranked choice voting for the District of Columbia. This morning I spoke at a press conference in support of the RCV measure introduced by council member Christina Henderson and joined dozens of other supporters in testifying before the DC  Council in support of the VOICE Act:

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation November 12, 2021

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on November 12, 2021

Jeannette Rankin painted by Melanie Humble
Dear fans of gender balance in politics,
On November 10, 1916 Jeannette Rankin, a Republican from Montana, became the first woman elected to the United States Congress. Rankin was elected from a multi-seat district but served just one term because Democrats switched to single winner districts while she was in office making it all but impossible for her to win re-election in 1918. Rankin, a devoted suffragist and pacifist, ran again and served a second term from 1941-1943:

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation November 5, 2021

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on November 05, 2021

Dear fans of gender balance in politics,
Nearly a century after the first woman was elected to the NYC council, women now hold 61% of the seats and the majority of those women are young women of color. Ranked choice voting was a key ingredient to women's electoral success in 1937 and in 2021. 
As my colleague Courtney Lamendola puts it "one of the most promising aspects of ranked-choice voting comes down to how it redefines "electability" for women candidates. While voters and party leaders might otherwise worry about multiple women candidates running against one another in a winner-take-all election, in RCV elections, multiple women can run without splitting the vote, which has had a positive effect on the number of women running and winning in ranked-choice voting elections."

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