I have been on the road this week in Canada with Jeanne Massey from FairVote Minnesota speaking to groups in cities that have already adopted ranked choice voting or will be voting to adopt #RCV this fall. It's been great to talk with a lot of Canadians about voting system reform and women'srepresentation - two of my favorite topics.
Highlights of the trip included meeting terrific women candidates running for various offices, speaking in a centuries old church in the heart of Toronto & at the Queen's University art gallery with Rembrandts right around the corner, and dipping into conversations about ranked ballots that are happening across the idealogical and generational spectrum in Canada.
As I mentioned last week, RelfectUS - the new coalition of non-partisan organizations that are joining together to work for gender parity - is going live on March 6th! Please join us in person if you can -use this link to RSVPor email me directly with any questions!
I am also excited to announce that, thanks to the incredible work of Toni Gingerelli, RepresentWomen'sGender Parity Index Reportis now live! We already have gotten some fun coverage includingthis storyinRefinery29that links toSheShouldRun's terrific campaign to find 250,000 women to run for office by 2030:
The 2018 US Olympic team is gender balanced in large part because of a system reform a generation ago called Title IX. Several years ago I wrote this piece on the need for a Title IX for women in politics to elect more women to office faster. While there are far more women running for office in 2018 than ever before, we need systems reforms to win parity for our daughters and our daughters' daughters (and sons).
Professor Jennifer Piscopo wrote in The New York Times this week about women's leadership in Latin America which has plateaued despite the adoption of gender quotas in recent years - most (if not all?) of the nations discussed rank above the United States in women's representation:
After President Michelle Bachelet of Chile leaves office in March, Latin America will have no female presidents.
There was a time in 2014 when the region had four: Laura Chinchilla in Costa Rica, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in Argentina, Dilma Rousseff in Brazil and Ms. Bachelet. Now, Latin America is left with few prospects for female presidents in the near future.
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:
I wasn't planning on posting but I was reminded that Alice Paul was born on January 11, 1885 - she was an eighth-generation Quaker, who graduated from Swarthmore College and wrote the still-unratified Equal Rights Amendment:
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.
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.
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:
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.