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Updates from RepresentWomen

Weekend Reading on Women's Representation April 27, 2018

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on April 27, 2018


​(Debbie Lesko R-AZ after her victory in Arizona this week)
Dear friends and allies,

Politico reports that Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) won the special election to the House of Representatives this week bringing the number of republican women in the House to 23. While the tight race yielded a pickup for GOP women the total number of republican women in the House has declined in that last decade from a high of 25 in 2005-2007.

Republican Debbie Lesko won the House special election in Arizona Tuesday night, holding off a closer-than-expected Democratic challenge in a district that President Donald Trump won by 21 points in 2016.

Lesko had 53 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race an hour after the polls closed, with over 155,000 early votes tallied. Democrat Hiral Tipirneni had 47 percent of the vote.
But Lesko’s single-digit margin is the latest evidence that Republicans face a punishing midterm environment, even in Trump-friendly territory. Lesko’s victory comes on the heels of losses for Republicans in southwestern Pennsylvania, where Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb beat Republican Rick Saccone in a district that backed Trump by nearly 20 points in 2016, and in Alabama, where Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore last year. In many other special elections that Democrats have lost, the vote has shifted sharply in their direction compared to the 2016 presidential results.

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What the U.S. House Bill on Sexual Harassment Could Mean for the Future

By Grace Knobler on April 25, 2018

A recent bill was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives modifying the way that sexual harassment cases are handled on Capitol Hill. The proposed bill would change many of the procedures that are currently in place under the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995. Per the 1995 act, victims are required to attend counseling for months before they are able to file a formal complaint about their sexual harassment.

The new bill would change this mandatory meditation period, allowing victims to take action as soon as they have experienced an incident of harassment or assault. Additionally, current victims of sexual harassment or assault do not have easy access to the resources they may need to receive fair representation.(1) The new bill provides victims with legal representation once a complaint has been filed. Finally, the new bill holds the sexual harasser accountable by using his or her own funds to pay the settlement. This differs from the current act in which the accused can use taxpayer dollars to pay sexual harassment settlements. Now, the person accused of sexual harassment is required to reimburse the U.S. treasury within 90 days, or their wages would be garnished.(2)

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation April 20, 2018

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on April 20, 2018

Barbara Bush died this week: Peter Baker writes this beautiful story about her courage and determination in the The New York Times
Dear friends,

Kristina Wilfore has launched a new podcast called Fatima's Hand that will profile "change agents across the globe fighting for women's equality. Combining politics with everyday activism, hear inspiring stories and practical advice from women in the Middle East, Africa and Europe." The first episode features an interview with a 23 year-old woman who ran for the Nairobi Senate. You can find Fatima's Hand on SoundCloud as well

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation April 6, 2018

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on April 06, 2018


​Google celebrated Maya Angelou's birthday this week with this cover photo

Dear friends,

The big story this week in the United States is the record number of women running for the House of Representatives in 2018 - so far. Read CAWP's press release for more details. While it's fabulous that so many women are declaring their intention to run it's also important to keep this news in perspective:

  • The House of Representatives makes up just .08% of all the 520,000 elected offices in the United States
  • Democratic women candidates far outnumber Republican women candidates
  • Male candidates still outnumber female candidates
  • Recruitment targets, fair voting systems, & modern legislative workplace norms are all necessary to ensure that enduring progress toward parity is made for all women

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation March 30, 2018

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on March 30, 2018


There was a fascinating story in Civil Georgia about the defeat of proposed gender quota legislation in Georgia which had the support of the prime minister, many members of parliament and civil society groups. I will include the entire article because I think it's so important to appreciate how much more advanced the conversation about parity is outside of our borders:

The Parliament of Georgia has voted down today the legislative proposal which was to set mandatory quotas for women to help increase their representation in the Parliament and Sakrebulos (municipality councils).

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation March 23, 2018

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on March 23, 2018


Deb Haaland - Native American woman candidate for Congress from New Mexico

Dear friends,

There was a piece by Lindsay Miller in Pop Sugar about Deb Haaland who could become the first native American woman to serve in Congress:

Deb Haaland stands to make history. If the New Mexico Democrat's campaign is successful, the single mom could become the only Native American woman to ever serve in the United States Congress.

A citizen of the Laguna Pueblo nation, Haaland grew up the daughter of military parents. She went on to put herself through college and law school at the University of Mexico, often scraping by on food stamps and student loans to get by. In 2008, she worked the phones as a full-time volunteer for Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. Four years later, she was back on team Obama for his reelection campaign — this time as the Native American vote director. That experience encouraged Haaland, now 57, to step into the political foreground and run for Lieutenant Governor in 2014.

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Running Start uses ranked choice voting to elect #ILookLikeAPolitician Ambassador

By Toni Gingerelli on March 20, 2018


Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to attend Running Start’s 12th Annual Women to Watch Awards with my colleagues at RepresentWomen and FairVote. Running Start is a national nonprofit that works to inspire and train the next generation of young women political leaders. It was inspiring to be in the room with young women from all backgrounds and political affiliations determined to create change in our world and challenge what it means to look like a politician.

At the event, seven alumnae of Running Start’s programs competed to be the organization’s “#ILookLikeAPolitician Ambassador.” The selected woman would become the spokesperson for Running Start. Throughout the night each candidate gave a campaign speech. At the end of the evening attendees voted for the organization’s next ambassador using ranked choice voting.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation March 16, 2018

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on March 16, 2018


My dear friends,
Last Saturday, The Hill ran my piece entitled "Congress, like Hollywood, has a female representation problem" which I wrote to encourage a conversation about concrete steps that we should be taking to advance women's representation and leadership that will lead us to parity in our lifetimes - not in some distant century or millennium. Judging from the comments on the piece not everyone agrees with my proposals but I am hoping those of you on this listserv will read the piece and let me know what you think! Here is an excerpt:

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation March 9, 2018

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on March 09, 2018


This week millions of women and men around the world celebrated International Women's Day. I learned from Wikipedia that IWD is considered an official state holiday in over 40 countries and that people across the globe honor the women in their lives with small gifts or flowers. 

This week also marked the launch of ReflectUS - the coalition of women's organizations that includes RepresentWomen, LatinasRepresent, She Should Run, Empowered Women, IGNITE, VoteRunLead, Highter Heights, and Women Influencers - that are working together to test and advance new strategies to win gender parity - in our lifetimes! Thanks to all those who could help us celebrate in person!

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