Weekend Reading on Women's Representation February 2, 2018

By Cynthia Terrell on February 02, 2018


​The year 2020 is fast-approaching so we have decided to change the name of Representation2020 to RepresentWomen. I like the simplicity of RepresentWomen and hope that you will too!

I am attending the Unrig the System conference in New Orleans this weekend where I will be speaking along side FairVote staff and an incredible line-up of other experts on various systems and the reforms needed to make democracy work better for all of us.
It's a joy to be here but I do not have time to for even a hasty summation of the week's news but I will share two things:

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An Analysis of Merit Selection on State Courts

By Grace Knobler on January 10, 2018

There are six different ways in which judges get seats on state courts: merit selection, gubernatorial appointment, partisan election, nonpartisan election, legislative appointment, and court appointment.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation January 6, 2018

By Cynthia Terrell on January 06, 2018


Dear sisters,
It's been a busy start to 2018 with daily reminders of both the need for women to have an equal voice in elected/appointed offices and the potential for rapid change that coalition work makes possible.
The clearest example of this was the impressive launch of the Time's Up coalition- which issued a clarion call to end sexual harassment and the inequality that perpetuates it. Many thanks to terrific allies like Monica Ramirez who has played a major role in the development of this effort - and the many others who are participating. Our voices are stronger when when we sing in unison.
My single biggest hope for 2018 is that together we will begin to consider intentional actions like quotas and voting system reforms that are advancing women's representation around the globe. This terrific piece from The Australian provides a model for the conversation we must have in the US. It's hard to be a lone voice on any topic but as the Time's Up women have demonstrated there is tangible power in our collective voice - let's use it:
Whenever gender quotas have been raised with conservatives, the collective reason for opposing them almost always has been rooted in the principle of merit. It’s a spurious argument at best, but it’s their excuse time and time again for not taking decisive action to fix the gender imbalance among their parliamentary representatives.
The data doesn’t lie: there is no denying the huge disparity in representation between the major parties when it comes to gender. Today there are fewer Coalition women in parliament — as a percentage and as a total — than at any time during John Howard’s nearly 12 years in power.
In contrast Labor, which has embraced quotas, has seen the number of women in parliament steadily rise. Years ago it was Labor that had a problem attracting women to join its ranks and run for parliament. The blokey culture of the party of the working class was less appealing than the Liberal Party for many women. Today, however, from what little we can glean from membership figures made available publicly, fewer woman are joining the party ranks of the conservatives.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation December 29, 2017

By Cynthia Terrell on December 29, 2017


Dear friends and allies,
Barbara Lee, president and founder of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, penned a terrific piece that reflects what so many of us are thinking "We don;t need another Year of the Woman. We need progress for women every year" and I would add a special emphasis that we need progress for all women every year:

Last January, after taking part in the largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history, a 32-year-old emergency psychiatric screener at a New Jersey hospital spotted a Facebook post from her county official, who asked, mockingly: “Will the women's protest end in time for them to cook dinner?”

Another year, she might have just raged; instead, she ran for his seat. On November 7, Ashley Bennett, a political newcomer, unseated John Carman, a career politician.

She wasn’t alone. One year after the Women’s March, a new generation of women will be marching into office as newly-elected members of school boards, city councils and state legislatures. Their unlikely victories were made possible by thousands more women who organized, phone banked and drove their neighbors to the polls.

 Danica Roem, who won a Virginia House of Delegates seats in a race against GOP incumbent Robert Marshall, is greeted by supporters as she prepares to give her victory speech. The Washington Post / Getty Images

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation December 22, 2017

By Cynthia Terrell on December 22, 2017


Dear friends,

I decided a little poetry might be right for this week:

Phenomenal Woman
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.   
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
   That’s me.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation December 15, 2017

By Cynthia Terrell on December 15, 2017


from Leda Black - find out more about her work here
Dear all,

There will be 22 women in the US Senate once Tina Smith, the Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota since 2015, is sworn in to replace retiring Senator Al Franken. While this is the highest number of women to ever have served in the US Senate, Smith's appointment continues the partisan & racial imbalance in the Senate and doesn't have a significant impact on our standing among the world's nations for women's representation.

Thanks to the Center for American Women in Politics for this list of potential 2018 candidates for federal and state offices which reflects a higher level of interest in women running for office but also indicates a far greater number of declared democratic candidates than republican candidates. This disparity is one of the many challenges that must be addressed to reach partisan parity in candidates and elected positions. This chart is a sobering reminder that far fewer republican women are being recruited to run than democratic women:

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation December 8, 2017

By Cynthia Terrell on December 08, 2017


Debra Rodman, Mehrnaz Teymourian, Vivian Watts, Cynthia Terrell, Danica Roem, Toni Gingerelli
Dear friends,

This week's missive will be very short as I am racing to get to a dear friend's book signing in Philadelphia that starts in a couple hours! Yikes!

I attended two events this week that were chock full of interesting speakers and attendees!

  • Politico's #WomenRule event was on Tuesday - look for a coverage of that event here - though you may have seen coverage of some of the programming in the news - Marco Rubio, Kristen Gillibrand, and Kelly Ann Conway - among many others - made for a lively conversation!
  • The Feminist Majority celebrated their 30th anniversary at the Press Club with a series of panels and an awards ceremony with several members of Congress and most of the newly elected members of the VA House of Delegates - some are gathered in the photo above!

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation December 1, 2017

By Cynthia Terrell on December 01, 2017


Dear friends,

As is often true, the most inspiring news I found this week on advancing gender parity comes from outside our borders. I hope that as we formulate and refine our work together to win parity in the United States we will stay curious about what's working in other countries and open to how we can incorporate best practices into our own work.

There was a very interesting story about faculty hiring processes in Ireland, for example, that offers a glimpse of how institutions can adopt rules about appointments and recruitment that accelerate progress toward parity by using money as a carrot - and a stick - and introducing the idea of 'gender equality accreditation' that I can imagine could be used in a number of private and public institutions in the US:

Universities in Ireland will now risk losing funding if they fail to promote a sufficient number of women into higher roles, Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor has announced.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Minister Mitchell O’Connor stated that “the first Irish university was set up 424 years ago and since then, no university [in Ireland] has had a female president.”

“That was excusable 400, perhaps even 300, 200 or 100 years ago, but in the 21st century, it’s not only not excusable, it’s not acceptable in institutions which should be providing a beacon of equality to the rest of society.”

Minister Mitchell O’Connor also stated that a Gender-Equality Task Force, which will investigate the gender inequality in senior university roles, will be established and will receive €500,000 in funding. The force will monitor a national systems review of recruitment and promotion policies in higher education institutions. A system ensuring that regular feedback is received will also be established. The work of the taskforce will be based on a report by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), which analysed the state of gender equality in Irish universities and made recommendations on what improvements can be made.

The HEA agreed that state funding of higher institutions should now depend on universities’ performance in tackling gender inequality. The institutions’ eligibility for research funding will be limited to those colleges that have a history of tackling the issue of gender inequality in the past. In addition to that, colleges will be required to have gender equality accreditation by the end of 2019 by three of Ireland’s research finding agencies; Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Research Council, and the Health Research Board.

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