Meet the Team: Katie Pruitt

By Katie Pruitt on June 13, 2018

In the eighth grade, my civics teacher tasked me with writing and delivering a speech on what my ideal American president would be like. Standing up in front of my class, I declared that my preferred president would be a woman. A male classmate criticized my speech because he believed that gender was irrelevant to whether someone can be an effective president. His comment upset me. Gender may not have been relevant to him but it sure was relevant to me. The state that I’m from, Virginia, has never elected a governor or a senator who was not a heterosexual man. Women are 51% of the U.S. population, yet they make up only 19.8% of Congress and 25% of state legislatures. Gender was important to me because I wanted a role model.

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Women's Representation & Ranked Choice Voting in four Bay Area Cities

By Cynthia Richie on June 08, 2018

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By RepresentWomen intern Lindsay Richwine

Four cities in the Bay Area—San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro—have made the switch to an electoral system called Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). RCV is a voting system that allows voters to rank candidates as their first, second, third choice and so on. If no candidate has a majority when votes are counted, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated, and ballots that have those candidates marked as their first choice are counted towards the candidate they selected as their second choice.

This process results in elections that are fairer and better represent voters’ preferences. By encouraging cooperation and civility among candidates who must take care not to alienate voters who could form their broader base, RCV discourages the divisive attacks and mud-slinging that dominate many of our elections today.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation June 8, 2018

By Cynthia Richie on June 08, 2018

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Dear friends,
Women now comprise two thirds of the cabinet of the newly-elected government in Spain according to this story in the The New York Times:

Spain’s new prime minister on Wednesday unveiled a government that has more women than men and includes a foreign minister from Catalonia who has led the fight against the region’s independence movement.

After meeting with King Felipe VI, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told journalists that his team was “a government for an equal society, open to the world but anchored in the European Union.”

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Meet the Team: Barbara Turnbull

By Barbara Turnbull on June 08, 2018

Last semester, one of my professors told me that political scientists have a bad habit of hypothesizing really broadly about the nature of our political systems and then hoping those theories “stick”. Though this feels overly simplistic, I am somehow completely on board with the theory that “descriptive representation” can help fix everything -- that is, electing representatives whose identities reflect the diverse identities of their constituents. Descriptive representation means women, LGBTQ folks, and people of color in office. It means we can look at our government and see ourselves represented there. It brings Washington D.C. closer to home. It means issues and policy needs that no committee of white men could have imagined are brought to the table. And it gives more people stake in the process, which is the most fundamental part of our participatory democracy.

 

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation June 1, 2018

By Cynthia Richie on June 01, 2018

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With Marianne Schnall at the launch of her terrific Year of Women project in NYC
Happy almost summer!
There were several articles this week that caught my eye including this one from Oklahoma Watch about the gender gap that still persists despite the increase in the number of women running:

This year, there will be nearly four times as many women running for the same number of seats. And following a trend across the nation, women will be better represented on the ballot than in at least a decade – and likely ever.

Female lawmakers say women bring a different perspective and tone to the often-contentious world of lawmaking. But Oklahoma’s gender disparity in the Legislature, which is among the most heavily male dominated in the country, is likely to continue despite movements such as the Oklahoma teacher walkout, the #MeToo movement and liberal opposition to President Donald Trump that have motivated more women across the country to enter politics.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation May 25, 2018

By Cynthia Richie on May 25, 2018

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Stacey Abrams - D GA - first African American female gubernatorial nominee - rsvp for the Higher Heights call with Stacey scheduled for Saturday at 2pm EST

Dear friends,

Four states held primaries/runoffs this week: Texas, Georgia, Kentucky, and Arkansas. I worked hard in 1989 to elect Douglas Wilder to be the first male Black governor elected in the United States so it's particularly exciting to report that Stacey Abrams won the primary in Georgia and now moves forward to the general election. A win in November would make Abrams the first female Black governor in the US. The New York Times reported on her win and Kelly Dittmar from the Center for American Women & Politics provides yet another terrific summary of election outcomes:

Among the notable results for women in Tuesday’s primaries in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, and Texas (primary runoffs):

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation May 18, 2018

By Cynthia Richie on May 18, 2018

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Dear friends,

Another round of primaries this week resulted in wins for women in crowded primaries at the state and federal level - as the New York Times reports:

Just as the women’s marches and #MeToo helped define 2017, the surging numbers of female candidates have defined the midterm races now underway. Yet for all that, the November elections may not produce a similar surge in the number of women in Congress.

More than half the female candidates for House and Senate seats are challenging incumbents, who historically almost always win; there were far more wide-open races in 1992’s so-called Year of the Woman, which doubled the number of women in Congress. A large percentage of the women now running for open seats are in districts that favor the other party. And many female candidates are clustered in the same districts, meaning many will be eliminated in this spring and summer’s primaries.

Last Tuesday’s primary elections in Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana and North Carolina help illustrate the steep path. Two women ran for Senate, both were long shots, and both lost. In House races, 27 women won — more than half. But 16 will challenge incumbents in November, 15 of them in districts firmly favoring their opponents... 

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation May 11, 2018

By Cynthia Richie on May 11, 2018

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I'll start this week with some truly great news! The Washington Post was among a number of news outlets that covered the FEC's decision to allow candidates to pay for childcare from money raised for their campaign. RepresentWomen has been talking about this and other rules changes that level the playing field for women in politics so it's great to see this precedent being set. Post columnist Julie Zauzner writes:

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Postscript to Weekend Reading on Women's Representation May 4, 2018

By Cynthia Richie on May 04, 2018

Good morning!

As a postscript to my message yesterday about the questions posed by a reporter to mayoral candidate Jane Kim, I thought I would share the following:

* The San Francisco Chronicle has taken the reporter off coverage of the San Francisco mayoral race. Tim Redmond of 48 Hills has a helpful account of what happened. My underlying point remains the same, the media can play a key gatekeeper role, and often holds women candidates - particular in executive races like mayor, governor, and president - to a higher standard than it holds men. 

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