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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