Posted on Blog on April 21, 2017
The Federalist ran a fascinating blog by Patrick Fletchall titled "When Pushing Women's Advancement, Big Businesses Are Hypocrites" - the entire piece is very worth reading but here is a teaser: "To be clear, the issue isn’t that companies don’t make a priority of hiring women. Many companies like Bank of America, Target, and Moss Adams have initiatives specifically to hire and support women. Instead, the challenge is the trickle of women who have been able to break the ceiling into executive-level management. Why is this important? As I’ve mentioned, I think these ad campaigns are great. They hit me right in the feels. But we shouldn’t kid ourselves that executive leadership in corporate business have all of a sudden decided to started seeing women’s intrinsic rather than profitable value. These ad campaigns represent consumer-product companies telling women what they think they want to hear, without changing their executive structure to practice what they preach. The message is further complicated by the fact that it affirms certain life choices for women while ignoring the millions of women who choose to be the chief operating officer of their homes. Commercials are fine and awareness is nice, but until women have a seat at the table, these campaigns are a case of “Do as I say, not as I do.” By all means, dream big, princess—as long as you don’t dream of being an executive at Disney. If you do, you’re buying exactly what they’re selling."
Posted on Blog on April 14, 2017
Louise Davidson-Schmich had an excellent piece on Vox's political science blog Mischiefs of Faction on the impact of quotas and voting systems on the election of women: The comparatively low number of women Congress is surprising, given that the United States scores relatively well on other measures of women’s well-being, such as the United Nations’ Gender Development Index. What accounts for this contradiction? Comparative research indicates that the primary determinant of women’s representation in legislatures worldwide involves the ways candidates are selected to run for office and the structure of the ballot upon which they appear. Since the 1980s, the use of gender quotas for elective offices has diffused throughout the world, driving the increase in women’s political representation (see figure 2). Quotas involve setting percentages or numbers for the political representation of specific groups, in this case women and, at times, men.
Posted on News Coverage on April 08, 2017
April marks a memorable centennial. On April 2, 1917, Jeannette Rankin, R-Montana, was sworn in as the first woman ever elected to Congress. Her election not only marked a milestone in the struggle for women’s political equality but provides a lesson about the importance of fair voting rules. Women today are a majority of voters, but progress toward political parity is virtually stagnant. Fewer than one in five House members are women, only four governors are women, and women’s share of state legislative seats has never reached even 25 percent. The United States now ranks 104th among nations for representation of women in national legislatures — a steep decline from 44th in 1995. At this rate, parity is at best centuries away. Why so little progress? There are several reasons, including cultural attitudes and bias. But a there’s an oft-overlooked barrier: our voting rules.
Posted on Blog on April 07, 2017
The Senate passed the war resolution on April 4, with six votes against. The House took up the measure the next day. Rankin stayed at her new apartment until late in the afternoon, agonizing over the vote. Alice Paul, head of the National Woman’s Party, sat with her. She told Rankin that she had an obligation as the first woman in Congress to give voice to her woman’s conscience. It would be a tragedy, Paul said, to vote for war. In the evening Rankin appeared at the Capitol. The debate was dragging on, and April 5 became April 6. At 3 a.m., the roll was called. “Miss Rankin was evidently under great mental distress,” the New York Times reported. “Her appearance was that of a woman on the verge of a breakdown.” Would she betray her cause by voting against war? Or would she betray her conscience by voting in favor? She remained silent, and the clerk moved on. Rep. Joseph Cannon, the former Republican House speaker, came up to her and told her to vote as her conscience dictated. “You represent the womanhood of the country,” he said. The clerk went through the roll again. “Miss Rankin,” he called out twice. She stood, clasped the back of the seat in front of her. “I want to stand by my country — but I cannot vote for war,” she said. Does that, the clerk asked, mean no? She nodded, dry-eyed, and sat down.
Posted on News Coverage on April 04, 2017
Women today are a majority of voters, but progress toward political parity is virtually stagnant. Fewer than 1 in 5 House members are women, only four governors are women, and women’s share of state legislative seats has never reached even 25 percent. The United States now ranks 104th among nations for representation of women in national legislatures — a steep decline from 44th in 1995. At this rate, parity is at best centuries away. Why so little progress? There are several reasons, including cultural attitudes and bias. But a there’s an oft-overlooked barrier: our voting rules. When Rankin broke through the representation barrier, Montana elected two House seats statewide rather than in separate districts. 1916 was a tough year for Republicans in Montana, with Democratic presidential nominee Woodrow Wilson easily winning the state. But Rankin won by finishing second. A year later the legislature carved the state into districts, gerrymandering Rankin into a more Democratic one. She unsuccessfully sought a Senate seat.
Posted on News Coverage on April 03, 2017
April marks a memorable centennial. On April 2, 1917, Jeannette Rankin, R-Montana, was sworn in as the first woman ever elected to Congress. Her election not only marked a milestone in the struggle for women’s political equality but provides a lesson about the importance of fair voting rules.
Posted on Blog on March 31, 2017
This weekend will mark the centennial of women's representation in Congress. Republican Jeannette Rankin was elected from a multi-winner district in Montana in November, 1916 and was finally allowed to take her seat on April 2, 1917. Democrats, whose presidential candidate carried the state by a huge margin, then gerrymandered her out of office by reverting to single winner districts. A century of evidence confirms this pattern: women are far more likely to run and win in multi-winner districts in cities, state legislatures and historically, when they were used in House elections. Rankin was even a fan of ranked choice voting - I am not making that up!
Posted on Blog on March 24, 2017
This edition will be some abbreviated as I am in transit for most of the day. My thoughtful husband sent along a couple good links to updates on likely gubernatorial candidates in 2018 that I think are worth reviewing so that we all understand where women are thinking of running and where they have a chance to win. Wikipedia reports that at least 36 governor seats are up in 2018 with two in 2017 - New Jersey and Virginia: Many of the states holding gubernatorial elections have term limits which make some multi-term governors ineligible for re-election. Two Democratic governors are term-limited, while six incumbent Democratic governors are eligible for re-election. Among Republican governors, 14 are term-limited, while ten can seek re-election. One independent governor, Bill Walker of Alaska, is eligible for re-election.
Posted on Blog on March 16, 2017
Representative Mimi Walters (R-CA) wrote a very compelling piece in Motto "What It Means to Be a Republican Woman in Congress" - she starts with my favorite theme du jour: This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first woman being sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives. Jeannette Rankin, a Republican from Montana, was a powerful voice for women’s suffrage. After successfully securing voting rights for women in both Washington State and Montana, Rankin ran for Congress in her home state. She was sworn into the 65th Congress on April 2, 1917, three years before the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving women across the country the right to vote.
Posted on Blog on March 09, 2017
There were of course many articles and news stories on the celebration of International Women's Day from the both the United States and from around the world. Those in the US reported on the uptick of interest from women in running for office while those from abroad looked at the quota and voting systems used in most nations.