An Electoral Race to Parity: Reflecting on Christine Quinn’s Defeat

By Dania Korkor on September 27, 2013














Representation of women in the United States Congress lags behind more than 90 nations. It is even worse for governors and mayors: women make up only 10% of our governors and 12% of mayors in our 100 largest cities. The recent New York State mayoral primaries reflect some improvement in women’s representation through municipal leadership, but also highlight a persistent, nationwide problem of a lack of women candidates running for elected offices.

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Multi-Member Districts Help New Hampshire Elect All the Women it Wants

By RepresentWomen by on August 08, 2013

It is a widely-held belief in political science – and one of the core tenets of Representation 2020 – that multi-member districts help more women get elected. This argument is based on broadly observable correlations, like the fact that the 20 countries with the highest percentages of women in their national legislatures all use multi-member districts, or the fact that six of the ten U.S. states with the highest percentage of women in their state legislatures use at least some multi-member districts. It is also grounded in a sound theoretical idea: that parties will feel pressure to run an equal number of women to men if they are running a slate of candidates, and that voters are likely to vote for candidates of both genders if they have the opportunity to do so.

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Michele Bachmann’s Self-Imposed Term Limit and Its Implications for Women’s Representation

By RepresentWomen by on May 31, 2013

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s announcement that she would not seek re-election in 2014 caused a predictable stir, given her history of inspiring both passionate support and opposition. In her announcement, Bachmann drew parallels between her decision to retire her post and her support of the term limits imposed on other office-holders, saying, “…the law limits anyone from serving as President of the United States for more than eight years. In my opinion, well, eight years is also long enough for an individual to serve as a representative for a specific congressional district.”  Bachmann's allusion to term limits caught our eye, given the relationship between  term limits and women's representation in elected office over the past several decades.

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Getting a Real “Colbert Bump” for Women’s Representation

By RepresentWomen by on March 29, 2013


After voters in South Carolina rejected four women running as Democratic Party nominees in the 2012 congressional elections, the state in a special election this May again has a chance to elect its first female House members since 1990. The likely continuation of an all-male delegation provides lessons for what it will take to achieve gender parity in Congress: a combination of gender-conscious party rules and fair voting methods.

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Gender Parity: A Case for Fair Voting and Party Rules

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on February 28, 2013

The United States trails behind ninety-one countries for women’s representation in its national legislature. Ranking behind most industrialized democracies, women fill a mere eighteen percent of U.S. Congressional seats. Many factors contribute to the level of descriptive representation (representation that reflects the electorate) present in a state’s government.  Two striking influences on representation are structural and institutional: the electoral system in place and the party rules employed. Women tend to gain more seats in national legislatures when countries use fair voting (proportional representation) particularly when fair voting is used in tandem with either gender quotas or internal rules to promote women’s representation.

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President Obama's First Four Cabinet Picks: So Male and So Pale

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on January 23, 2013

As President Obama’s second-term Cabinet takes shape, the gender and ethnic composition of his team is drawing criticism from the Center of American Women in Politics, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda Coalition and New York Democrat Charles Rangel, one of the longest serving black members of Congress. With white men nominated to the first four positions (secretary of defense, secretary of state, secretary of the Treasury and CIA director), it’s time to start asking for a government that looks like America.

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