Women are Underrepresented on the Courts

By Evelien van Gelderen by on June 20, 2018


Image source- Gavel Gap

While there has been much media coverage on gender disparity in the legislative branch, there is little attention being paid to the lack of representation of women and people of color in the judicial branch. Less than one-third of state judges are women, even while women make up more than one-half of the U.S. population. People of color make up about 40% of the population, but account for less than 20 percent of state judges. At the federal level, only 36 percent of United States trial court judges are women and only 10.5 percent of U.S. federal judges are women of color.

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Meeting with Liberian Rep. Rosana Schaack

By Evelien van Gelderen by , , , , on June 19, 2018

RepresentWomen was honored to recently welcome Rosana Schaack, member of the Liberian House of Representatives, to our offices. She shared her experiences working in a male-dominated government and the challenges she and other Liberian women face as they work towards gender parity in the legislature. In Liberia’s most recent election for the national legislature,  146 women ran  but just four women challengers won seats. Currently, there are only 11 female legislators out of 103 total in the Legislature of Liberia, with nine women in the House and two in the Senate.

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Strong Showing for Women in June 12th Primaries

By by on June 18, 2018

 Virginia Democrat Jennifer Wexton, flanked by Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, left, and Sen. Tim Kaine, speaks at her 10th District primary night party at O'Faolin’s Irish Pub in Sterling, Va., on Tuesday. She will next face Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 Virginia Democrat Jennifer Wexton, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (left) and Sen. Tim Kaine(right) speaks at her 10th District primary night party in Sterling, Va., on Tuesday June 12th, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)


By Kendrik Icenhour & Katie Pruitt

Women candidates won big on Tuesday June 12th, as Virginia, South Carolina, Maine, Nevada, and North Dakota held their primary elections for state and national offices.

Virginia continued the trend started in the state’s 2017 general election trend, where voters elected an historic number of women to the House of Delegates, by electing women in droves. On Tuesday night, six out of the 16 winners in congressional primaries were women (5 Democrats, 2 Republicans); in every district that a woman ran, a woman won.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation June 15, 2018

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on June 15, 2018


I have been thinking a lot about majority rule.
My daughter and I were among the fortunate who got to see Hamilton at the Kennedy Center this week. I was of course reminded of the errors of our 'founders' who institutionalized the oppression of women & people of color in our Constitution which was, and is, much heralded for its promise of representative democracy.
I was also reminded of the core belief in majority rule that the 'founders' wrestled with in designing our government, and that the lyrics from Hamilton challenge people to consider:

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Meet the Team: Evelien van Gelderen

By Evelien van Gelderen by on June 15, 2018

My name is Evelien van Gelderen and I am a rising sophomore at Swarthmore College located in Swarthmore, Penn. Though I have yet to declare a major, I’m considering economics and biology. However, I’m also interested in policy and politics. My family has always been engaged in the news, and growing up, dinner conversation was often centered around social issues and recent news events.

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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 Terrell on June 08, 2018


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 Terrell on June 08, 2018


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 Terrell on June 01, 2018

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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