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Updates from RepresentWomen

Locally, Voting Systems Affect Women's Representation

By Emily Agliano on November 03, 2015

Women are incredibly underrepresented at all levels of government and cities are no exception. Representation2020 analyzed America’s 100 largest cities and ranked them in order of percentage of women’s representation on their city councils. A mere 16 out of the 100 largest cities have 50 percent or higher women’s representation on their city councils. Only 14 of these cities have a female mayor.

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Would we say this about a man? Changing how we talk about women in politics

By on October 28, 2015

In a now infamous soundbite from a Rolling Stone interview this past September, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said of fellow presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina: “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you  imagine that, the face of our next president?” Trump quickly tried to backtrack, saying he was referring to Fiorina’s persona and not her physical appearance. However, when asked to address Trump’s comments during the Republican debate-and what she thought of Trump’s comments, Fiorina cooly replied, “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.”  For the rest of the debate, Fiorina presented well-prepared and substantive comments with her signature poise and CEO-type presence. After the debate, commentators said Fiorina shined and many agreed she had some of the clearest policy positions and the most well-rehearsed responses of any candidates that night. She also experienced a subsequent uptick in the polls

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A More Accurate Worldwide Ranking for Women’s Representation

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on October 23, 2015

Only two of the 190 ranked countries in the world have greater than 50% women in their lower or single House, based on the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s research. The IPU’s ranking is a great resource that allows people to see how their country ranks in women’s representation relative to other countries.
 
Unfortunately, the IPU numeric ranking is misleading. Here’s why: the ranking groups countries that tie as sharing one ranking. For example, Iceland is ranked 11th, according to the new IPU ranking, tied with Namibia and Nicaragua. Following those three countries is Spain, ranked at 12th. A common understanding of ranking 12th globally is that only 11 countries would be ranked higher. That isn’t the case. In fact, 13 countries are ranked higher than Spain. This means an accurate ranking for Spain is 14th in the world. The IPU ranking puts the United States at 76th, but in reality 95 countries rank higher which places the United States at 96th.

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No Parity in Sight for Women in Politics Part One: Shallow Bench in Critical State Pipelines

By Molly Rockett on October 20, 2015

It’s tempting to be really encouraged about the state of women’s representation in politics today. After all, we've seen success stories everywhere. Elise Stefanik, a Republican out of New York, earned the title of youngest congresswoman ever elected when she took office in 2014. Mia Love became the first black Republican woman to be elected to Congress when she won in Utah that same year. In fact, all over the country, 2014 was hailed as a “Year of Women.”

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Four Reasons Why We Need More Women in Office

By on October 19, 2015

Representation 2020 works to raise awareness of the underrepresentation of women in elected office, to strengthen coalitions in support of equitable women’s representation, and to highlight the often-overlooked structural barriers to achieving gender parity in American elections.

Women are more than half of the American population, and yet they only hold a fifth of seats in Congress, a quarter of state legislative seats, and are only one in ten state governors.  There are at least four reasons why we should care about the dismal state of women’s representation in American today and actively pursue gender parity in elected office.

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Representation 2020: Their Mission & Why it May Just Work: NWPC blog By Alexa Zogopoulos & Mallory McPherson-Wehan

By RepresentWomen on October 15, 2015

Women make up 50.8% of the population in the United States, but only 19% of Congress. Do we still live in a representative democracy if women are not being equally represented? It is easy to advertise these statistics and demand change, but if you have no actual plan to achieve gender parity, then your quest may be in vain. Representation 2020 seeks to present a plan with reasonable goals in order to “raise awareness of the under-representation of women in elected office, to strengthen coalitions that are supportive of measures to increase women's representation, and to highlight the often overlooked structural barriers to achieving gender parity in American elections.” Before we explain how exactly Representation 2020 seeks to raise awareness and make these landmark changes, let’s first explain why we need groups like this. 

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Faith and Parity: How Religion Impacts Gender Parity in Elected Office

By Katie Gansler on August 27, 2015

The top 5 states in Representation 2020’s 2015 Gender Parity Index (GPI)  includes 4 democratic-leaning states and Arizona. FairVote conducted an analysis to determine the common links between states with high GPI scores. Only one measure was highly correlated with a state’s gender parity score: the proportion of people in a state who describe themselves as somewhat or very religious.  The lower the proportion within a state, the higher the state’s GPI.

 

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The Ripple Effect of Multi-Member Districts on Women’s Representation

By Shayna Solomon on August 27, 2015

Women hold 24.3 percent of seats in state legislatures throughout the United States. This percentage is barely up from 24.2 percent of seats before the 2014 election, inching state legislatures only slightly closer to gender parity. If we continue at this snail’s pace, we will wait centuries to reach gender parity. However, there are simple, tried, tested and proven effective structural changes that American state legislatures can adopt to speed up progress to gender parity: multi-winner districts.     

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Finnish and Danish Elections

By Dominiq Telfort on August 19, 2015

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The United States currently ranks 94th out of 189 countries for the representation of women in the lower house.  If the United States continues at the current rate, it will take generations to reach gender parity. Other nations, like Finland and Denmark are striding much more quickly toward gender parity in elected office. In part, our slow progress toward gender parity is due to structural barriers that inhibit women’s recruitment, election and ability to serve. The United States must reform its single-winner district system and engage in intentional legislative and party actions to increase the representation of women.

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