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Courtney Lamendola

Courtney Lamendola

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  • published Rechelle Gutierrez in Interns and Fellows 2024-05-23 13:02:09 -0400

    Rechelle Gutierrez

    Rechelle Gutierrez (she/her) is currently serving as a research intern for Represent Women. She is working on her BA in Political Science and History from Western New Mexico University. Gender parity in politics and women’s rights are the driving forces behind her academic and professional pursuits. Her previous efforts have included working as a communication intern for female candidate campaigns and as a research and editorial intern for nonprofit organizations. She is deeply committed to gender equality in political representation and is hopeful to learn an abundance of new information and gain research skills while being a part of the Represent Women team.

  • Women’s Representation in the Oceania Region: Hovering Between Parity and Neglect

    This month, RepresentWomen released our Oceania Region Country Brief, which examines women’s representation at all levels of government in Oceania’s 14 countries. This brief analyzes system reforms, such as voting systems and gender quotas, that shape opportunities for women in politics within each country.

    Read more
  • published Report: 2023 Annual Report in Research 2023-12-01 13:02:57 -0500

    Report: 2023 Annual Report


    Where we began: In August 2013, “Representation2020” (now RepresentWomen) was launched to study progress towards gender-balanced governance in the U.S. and identify structural barriers and solutions to women’s representation. We began as a fiscally-sponsored project of FairVote, a nonpartisan organization that champions the use of single- and multi-winner ranked choice voting in the United States. Our initial goal was to achieve gender-balanced representation in politics by 2020.

    Our new beginning: In the fall of 2018, Representation2020 separated from FairVote to become RepresentWomen, a nonpartisan research-based organization dedicated to advancing systems-level solutions for women’s underrepresentation in politics, under the leadership of RepresentWomen’s Executive Director and Founder Cynthia Richie Terrell. Within a year of forming its own board and mission, RepresentWomen secured a multi-year grant from Pivotal Ventures and hired its first staffer.

    Where we are now: As of 2023, RepresentWomen’s team has grown to include eleven staff and four teams (research, partnerships, communications, and operations). RepresentWomen’s staff is led by a leadership team of four: Executive Director Cynthia Richie Terrell, Operations Director Michele McCrary, Research Director Courtney Lamendola, and Partnerships Director Katie Usalis. In addition to our staff and leadership, RepresentWomen continues to work with IREX fellows and seasonal interns. To date, RepresentWomen has mentored over 100 fellows and interns.

    Our Work

    We are committed to achieving gender balance in the United States, where women are in elected and appointed positions, at every level of government, in equal proportion to their presence in the population. Having more women in government will strengthen our democracy by making it more representative, reviving bipartisanship and collaboration, improving policy outcomes, encouraging a new style of leadership, and cultivating trust in our elected bodies.

    Feature resources and programs rolled out in 2023 included: 

    Through agenda-setting, research, and engagement, we are creating new ways for women to assume power in the United States. To date, our team has:

    • Released 40+ research reports,
    • Published 800+ blogs and op-eds,
    • Participated in well over 350 events, and
    • Supported 15+ state and local RCV campaigns.

    To learn more about our strategy, our growth in the last five years, and our work in 2023, please turn to our annual report. 

    2023 Annual Report 

  • published Slidedeck: PRCV in the US Timeline in Research 2023-10-24 11:04:19 -0400

    Slidedeck: PRCV in the US Timeline

    RepresentWomen researches and advances the best practices for reaching gender-balanced governance in the U.S. Our research shows that voting systems shape the opportunities women have to run for office and get elected. This timeline accompanies a new brief that analyses the impact of proportional ranked choice voting (PRCV) on women's representation in the United States. Through this timeline, we highlight milestones for women thought leaders and elected officials who have contributed to the ongoing story of PRCV in the U.S. Both the brief and timeline are part of an ongoing series updating our research on voting systems in the U.S. and the impact different systems have on women’s political representation. Previous installments in this series covered voting systems around the world and the impact of ranked choice voting (RCV) on women’s representation.


  • Report: Individual and PAC Giving to Women Candidates

    The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), Common Cause, and Representation2020 (RepresentWomen) have teamed up to explore political giving to congressional candidates from the female candidate's perspective. This collaborative project is designed to create greater transparency on how political giving affects the universe of viable candidates, to draw attention to the key gatekeeper role played by major campaign funders, and to design strategies that encourage donors, PACs, political parties, and others to reexamine how and when they give to female candidates. 

    Download Report

  • Brief: Women's Representation in the G20 as of 2019

    The 'Group of Twenty' (G20) Summit is an annual international forum for the governments and central bankers of the Group of Seven (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) plus Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, and the European Union. These economies represent the greatest percentage of the Gross World Product, world trade, the global population, and world land area. 

    For the G20 Osaka Summit, RepresentWomen prepared a series of infographics that illustrate how well women are politically represented in each. 

    Download Brief

  • published Report: 2019 Gender Parity Index in Research 2023-06-14 21:55:09 -0400

    Report: 2019 Gender Parity Index

    To quantify progress towards gender parity in elected and appointed office, RepresentWomen developed the Gender Parity Index (GPI). Each year, a Gender Parity Score and grade is calculated for each of the 50 states and for the United States as a whole. The Gender Parity Score reflects women's recent electoral successes at the local, state, and national levels on a scale of 0 (if no women were elected to any offices) to 100 (if women held all elected offices). The key advantage of the GPI is that it enables comparisons to be made over time and among states. 

    Download Report

  • Best Practices: For a Gender-Balanced Democracy

    RepresentWomen is a nonpartisan, 501c3 non-profit organization committed to strengthening our democracy by advancing reforms that break down barriers to ensure more women can Run, Win, Serve, and Lead. As both candidates and elected officials, women continue to face structural barriers that men simply do not; and these barriers require systemic reforms to level the playing field. "RUN WIN SERVE LEAD: Best Practices for a Gender-Balanced Democracy" highlights the topline findings from our research on the systems-level strategies that accelerate progress toward gender-balanced governance. 

    Download Guide

  • published Country Brief: Post-Soviet States in Research 2023-06-14 17:59:50 -0400

    Country Brief: Post-Soviet States

    The Soviet Union, also known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was established in 1922 with 15 republics, making it the largest country in the world- for reference, it was 2.5 times larger than the United States and was one-sixth of Earth’s land surface. On December 26th, 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved, resulting in the creation of 15 new and independent states: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. 

    Under the Soviet Union, women’s rights were enshrined by the constitution, which guaranteed equal rights for women in all aspects of life, including the economic, cultural, social, and political spheres. Soviet women were actively involved in the labor force and in domestic affairs- this “double burden” also meant that they experienced time poverty, or a lack of adequate time for leisure and rest. Despite this, Soviet women were still 49% of all local officials and 32% of all federal officials in 1980. However, Soviet women were less likely to be promoted within the government hierarchy, and some women also preferred local politics due to their time poverty, which can explain women’s reduced levels of representation between the local and federal government. Throughout the state’s existence, women’s political representation greatly fluctuated, especially in political party leadership, which is proof of the inadequate implementation of their 30% gender quota.

    Why Read This Brief? This brief chooses to analyze these 15 post-Soviet states primarily because their constitutions, political parties, electoral systems, and sociocultural attitudes have all been developed in the last 30 years. Being some of the most newly formed states in the world, these post-Soviet states are still in the process of expanding their legal codes, updating their electoral codes and institutions, and creating mechanisms to monitor the realization of gender equality. Each country in this region has experienced similar and unique barriers in their journey to state development, as well as some resounding successes that other countries should consider implementing within their own governments. Overall, this region is one of the most unique in the world, and there are many successes and challenges which can be identified to enhance our understanding of both the post-Soviet states and governments around the world.

    Download Country Brief

  • published Country Brief: Arab States in Research 2023-06-14 17:52:26 -0400

    Country Brief: Arab States

    Over half (55%) of Arab states ensure women's representation through gender quotas (mostly reserved seats). Our research indicates that women in countries with gender quotas are better represented by women than they are in countries without quotas. But even in countries that have achieved higher levels of representation, more needs to be done to ensure that women have meaningful opportunities to lead. To learn more about the status of women's representation in Arab states, refer to our full brief. 

    Download Country Brief

  • published Country Brief: Latin America in Research 2023-06-14 17:34:04 -0400

    Country Brief: Latin America

    Gender quotas have uniquely defined Latin American politics since their conception. In 1991, Argentina became the first country in the world to adopt legislative gender quotas. Soon after, other countries in Latin America and around the world began to do the same. Of the five countries in the world that have achieved gender parity in their legislatures, three are in Latin America. Whether due to the fact that they were among the first to embrace gender quotas or because of other underlying factors, it is clear that the region has many success stories when it comes to women's representation. 

    Yet, that is not to say that every country in this region is succeeding at achieving gender-balanced governance. There is great diversity in performance on women's representation in Latin America, which hints that gender quotas, though helpful, may not be the only solution needed to achieve gender parity. 

    This brief analyzes trends in Latin America, defined by 19 countries located in Central and South America, to: 

    • Determine what factors support or hinder a country's journey to gender parity.
    • Guide the United States in its own journey to achieve parity. 

    Download Country Brief

  • published Report: Gender Balanced Cabinets in Research 2023-06-07 17:24:48 -0400

    Report: Gender Balanced Cabinets

    RepresentWomen is a research-based advocacy group that promotes the use of systems strategies to advance women's representation and leadership in the U.S. and around the world. To achieve our mission, RepresentWomen partners with allies across the country and political spectrum who help amplify our work by putting what we've researched into practice. By working in concert with our allies to address the barriers to office, we can ensure that more women RUN, WIN, SERVE, and LEAD. 

    In January 2022, RepresentWomen conducted an analysis of the demographic makeup of cabinets in all 50 states. For all but one state (Florida), the governor appoints all or most cabinet members. The average state cabinet has a membership of less than 40% women. Only 12 states have achieved gender balance in their cabinets. 

    Download Report

  • Report: Gender Equality in Egypt 2011-2022

    RepresentWomen is a research and action hub that promotes evidence-based solutions to improve women’s political representation and leadership in the United States and abroad. At RepresentWomen, we know that women’s representation in government strengthens the quality of democracy. We envision a future where women have equal opportunities to enter elected and appointed office. To achieve this goal, we work in partnership with researchers and practitioners around the world who are similarly invested in creating opportunities for women in government. 

    Our research on international women’s representation is centered around the role of rules and systems, and how they shape opportunities for women in politics. Through this research, we have learned that progress is being made toward gender-balanced governance in many parts of the world, but often requires time and deliberate effort. Between our international reports, regional briefs, and independent studies, our team seeks to identify and share the “best practices” for advancing women’s representation and leadership. 

    Gender Equality in Egypt 2011-2022 explores the progression of gender equality and women’s rights in Egypt over the last decade. Topics included in this report range from women-related national strategies in Egypt; amendments to  the Constitution; new laws and executive decisions; women’s political, economic and social empowerment; and a discussion of feminism, gender, and equality. 

    The objectives of this report are to: 1) analyze the elements that contributed to Egypt’s progress toward gender equality; 2) review Egypt’s latest efforts to improve gender equality and develop recommendations that the country can use to achieve gender balance; and 3) provide examples from other countries’ policies and plans on how to overcome the structural barriers that limit opportunities for women seeking positions in government.

    Download Report

  • Snapshot: Gender and Party in State Legislatures

    Women's representation in state legislatures has steadily grown over the last ten years, from 24% of all seats in 2013 to 33% in 2023. Though women's representation increased in both parties, the Democratic Party has made greater strides toward gender balance.

    Nearly half of all Democratic state legislators are women in 2023, up from 33% ten years ago. Meanwhile, just one-fifth of all Republican state legislators are women, up from 17% ten years ago. While the composition of the Democratic party has shifted over time to achieve gender balance, Republican men hold approximately the same share of power in 2023 that they did ten years ago. 

    Uneven efforts to recruit and retain women lead to uneven results. Progress toward gender balance in state legislatures will slow down unless the Republican Party adopts new strategies to source and support women in office. Refer to our 2023 snapshot on women in state legislatures to see the data and learn more. 

    Download Snapshot

  • Achieving Lasting Global Peace Requires Women’s Participation

    The impact of war is felt by all but disproportionately affects women and girls. In particular, the presence of armed conflict increases the prevalence of sexual violence, displacement, maternal mortality, mental health struggles, and reproductive health issues among women. 

    Read more
  • commented on Contact Us 2022-11-29 12:59:58 -0500

    Contact Us

    Want to know more about our Gender Parity Index and other research? Looking for more resources? Are you a community leader or elected official hoping to connect? Call us at (240) 641-8864 or reach out via this form. For media inquiries, please contact [email protected]

  • Dashboard: Ranked Choice Voting and Women's Representation in the U.S.

    In 2022, we released an interactive dashboard to present the latest data on women's representation in ranked choice cities. In addition to providing summary data on where ranked choice voting (RCV) is used and its impact on local representation, the RCV Dashboard includes updated case studies on the impact of ranked voting on women's representation in Cambridge, New York City, the Bay Area, and Utah.

    For more information about RCV and its impact on women's representation, check out our 2023 Ranked Choice Voting Memo.

    infogram_0_f45a9b75-7958-4bcd-b51b-adb30abd22e42022 RCV Dashboard

    Updated: January 2023


  • Report: The Twin-Track Ecosystem in the 100 Largest Cities

    Released: November 2022

    In 2022, we released a follow-up to our report on women's representation in New York City, “Why Women Won in 2021.” In the report, we expand upon and re-evaluate our findings by researching 1) women’s representation in the next-largest cities in the U.S., and 2) which of the factors we observed in NYC are also present in these cities. The report concludes with a list of guiding takeaways,  aimed at changemakers interested in bringing the best practices and strategies that worked in New York City to other major cities. 

    The Four Factors

    Four conditions were uniquely met in New York, and thus examined in the next 100 largest cities. These were the presence of: (1) term limits, (2) public financing, (3) ranked choice voting, and (4) candidate organizations. Including NYC, 52% of the cities meet at least one of the four conditions.

    Where Next?

    Including NYC, 27 of the top 100 cities have councils majority-led (50% +1) by women and an additional 13 cities are at parity with women holding 50% of all seats. Just one city other than NYC has all four of the systems-focused and candidate-focused factors that make up the twin-track ecosystem: San Francisco. Four cities have two of the four factors we traced: Oakland, Denver, Long Beach, and Los Angeles.


    Key Question: How many cities have more than one of the factors covered by the twin-track ecosystem?

    City, State





    Percent Women

    Term Limits

    Matching Funds

    Ranked Choice Voting

    Local Women's Candidate Orgs

    New York City, NY








    San Francisco, CA








    Oakland, CA








    Denver, CO







    Long Beach, CA







    Los Angeles, CA








    Our recommendations for “where next” are split between four cities. Depending on whether our partners are more interested in 1) achieving gender balance where it is lacking, or 2) sustaining current levels of women’s representation where it exists, our suggested target cities change. 

    Our first option suggests focussing on Los Angeles and San Francisco. In Los Angeles, there is an opportunity for RCV and a local WCG to be introduced. Though San Francisco technically already has all four twin-track factors, there is room for building on the existing infrastructure to ensure that more women run viable campaigns in each election.

    Our second option suggests focus should be on Denver, and Long Beach. Many cities in the top 100 have small city councils, showing there are clear opportunities to invest in better systems and candidate support infrastructure in all parts of the country. Per our initial analysis, these two cities would benefit from ranked choice voting and local WCGs. Since both have small councils and term limits, women’s representation is likely to fluctuate in the future without additional support.

    Key Takeaways

    • A twin-track approach creates viable, local-level opportunities for women. A twin-track approach is the best way to achieve gender balance in our lifetimes. Moreover, both tracks must be multidimensional in depth. The candidate track must go beyond recruitment, and the systems track must involve efficient implementation and education. 
    • The results of the twin-track approach will inevitably vary in every city. Political environments and agendas, the role of local media, the rate of pay for officeholders, and other factors are not consistent across the U.S. But, even if the magnitude of the results are different, the components within the twin-track approach have proven to be beneficial and merit implementation. 
    • Actualizing the twin-track approach requires increased financial support. Gratuitous support from local community members can be effective but is not sustainable. In order to maintain training programs, host voter education initiatives, and provide endorsed candidates with additional funding, women's candidate groups need the help of philanthropists, changemakers, and partner organizations alike. 


    View the Report 

  • Peer-Reviewed Article: Election Reform & Women's Representation: Ranked Choice Voting in the U.S.

    Released: June 2021

    In 2021, we published an article in Politics and Governance on the history and impact of single- and multi-winner ranked choice voting on women’s representation in the U.S. In addition to revisiting some of the research from our 2016 and 2020 reports, this article allowed us to dig deeper into the available literature on ranked choice voting and identify knowledge gaps that should be addressed in future research. 

    Read Our 2021 Article