Posted on Blog on February 28, 2020
In addition to the foundation’s 20th anniversary, this year marks another milestone I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: the 25th anniversary of the Beijing World Conference on Women. (If that name doesn’t ring a bell, you may know it as the event where Hillary Clinton famously declared that “Human rights are women's rights, and women’s rights are human rights.”) I remember reading about the conference and feeling that the world had planted an important stake in the ground for women. But it took years before I recognized how gender equality would fit into my own work.
Posted on Blog on February 21, 2020
This year marks the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. A hundred years after suffragists fought for and won the right to vote, women voters—empowered by the feminist, civil rights and LGBTQ movements—will likely determine the outcome of the high-stakes elections of 2020. Indeed, the power of women voters and feminist candidates to secure women’s rights is right now on display in Virginia, where the State House and Senate have just voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, making theirs the 38th and final state needed to add women to the Constitution.
Posted on Blog on February 14, 2020
In recent years we have seen a rise of female representation in governments throughout the world owing in part to certain measures that have been taken allowing for more women in politics. One such measure, albeit a controversial one which to this day stirs quite a debate ranging from it defying the principle of equal opportunity to being outright undemocratic, is the gender-based quota imposed by governments to ensure a substantial female legislative representation. Governments in the MENA region have also taken this issue in stride, a great example of this is seen in the UAE’s Federal National Council (FNC), where the female participation quota has been increased to fifty per cent in an attempt by the government to cement the legislative and parliamentary role of women in the nation's development. Topping this growing list of governments with the greatest gender parity is Rwanda where women make up 61.3% of the lower house
Posted on Blog on February 07, 2020
While it has been a very busy week politically in Iowa and in Washington, DC, it is the eve of another increasingly political event - the Oscars - this coming Sunday evening. RepresentWomen's terrific research fellow Maura Reilly wrote It’s Time for the OscHers: When Will the Academy Honor Female-Driven Storytelling? that ran in the celebrity online news source The Wrap this week. Be sure to cast your ranked vote for best woman director in our online poll - we will release the results Sunday night: Support for movies, television and books that exemplify women and girls’ perspectives is not just about being recognized at award shows. The Geena Davis Institute has found the portrayal of women and girls in media directly impacts how young girls view their own abilities and options. “If they can see it, they can be it,” Davis has said, noting that the first step to gaining gender equality and equal opportunity is allowing young girls to imagine any role, job and life that they want for themselves. One of the biggest barriers for women reaching the highest levels of elected office is the perception of female leaders. The first step has to be normalizing the idea of female leaders across all fields — whether elected, appointed or fictional.
Posted on Blog on January 31, 2020
Last night I had the real pleasure of participating in the launch for a new book on strategies to modernize our voting and election systems called When Women Vote: When Women Vote highlights the challenges Americans, particularly women, face when trying to vote in the current voting system, and the amazing things that happen with reform. We make the case for further voting reform and for removing bias in the voting process by sharing stories and experiences of women voters and leaders throughout the United States.
Posted on Blog on January 24, 2020
Bridgette Bruno, Research and Communications Manager for the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, wanted to make sure that readers know about the webinar "Ready, Willing, & Electable: Women Running for Executive Office" that they are hosting on their new research which asks about hypothetical Asian American, Black, Latina, lesbian and white women candidates of the two major political parties to comprehensively examine what it takes for a woman to prove to voters she is ready to serve in executive office.
Posted on Blog on January 17, 2020
One hundred year ago, suffragists - who were nearly all Republicans (including my Quaker ancestors) - were on the brink of winning the franchise. Soon thereafter, emboldened by their success with suffrage, Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman wrote the first Equal Rights Amendment which was introduced in Congress in 1923. Despite opposition from human rights stalwarts like Eleanor Roosevelt, support for a modern ERA grew through the 1960s & 1970s until it was a standard plank in party platforms of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Representative Martha Griffiths - the first woman elected to Congress from Michigan - re-introduced the ERA in Congress in 1971 where it was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on October 12, 1971 and by the U.S. Senate on March 22, 1972. After passage in Congress it was sent to the states for ratification which triggered an intense period of organizing led by Molly Yard, Ellie Smeal, Gloria Steinem and many others to ensure passage.
Posted on Blog on January 10, 2020
There are now 26 women in the United States Senate following the swearing in this week of Kelly Loeffler from Georgia - this is the highest number of women to serve in the U.S. Senate - ever - according to this story from Politico: Republican Kelly Loeffler was formally sworn in Monday as the newest senator from Georgia, replacing retired Sen. Johnny Isakson and becoming only the second woman to represent the state in the Senate. “This is the most women to ever serve in the Senate, and it comes at a time when we need more diverse voices in politics, not fewer,” they said in a joint statement. “It took 27 years to go from two women to 26, and we should be able to reach equal representation in the Senate much more quickly.”
Posted on Blog on January 03, 2020
Happy 2020. It's a big year for many reasons. It's of course the centennial of the 19th amendment that granted most women the right to vote. It's the sesquicentennial of the 15th amendment that granted men of color the right to vote. It's an election year in the United States. And it's a year that demands we come together with people around the globe to pass legislation and enact laws that protect our environment, nurture diplomacy, advance women's representation, and address the economic, educational and health needs of everyone - no exceptions. Our individual and collaborative work is essential.
Posted on Blog on December 20, 2019
This has been a big week of news from Capitol Hill but I am going to steer clear of that topic as I suspect there is a variety of opinion on the matter among all of you interesting, passionate, and committed people! I will report though, that we hosted students this morning from the Capital City Public Charter School who chose RepresentWomen as the recipient of their decorated-by-hand cookies. We had a lively exchange about the need for airports named for women, the rank of the United States among nations for women's representation, voting at 16, and the number of women in office. It was a total joy to listen to their answers to my many questions - I felt almost like Scrooge at the end of the Christmas Carol when he is so enthusiastic to find he is alive after a night of ghostly visitations that he almost overwhelms the young boy he commissions to help him buy gifts for others! I can't think of a better motivation for the work we all do than these children. I hope that you can feel the power of their potential that I experienced today.