Fall 2017


Women's Underrepresentation in the Judiciary

Posted on Blog on November 21, 2017

Female matriculation in law school has increased significantly over time. In fact since 1992, the ratio between female to male law students has approached 50/50. Despite the relative equality among male and female law students, women’s representation in the judicial branch remains shockingly low. This is true among both female judges and prosecutors. A more diverse judicial branch equates to a more representative government. Representative democracy is important to the judicial branch because different perspectives often lead to diverse readings and implications of rulings. Christina L. Boyd, Lee Epstein and Andrew D. Martin’s study, Untangling the Causal Effects of Sex on Judging, found that male federal appellate court judges are less likely to rule against plaintiffs bringing claims of sex discrimination if a female judge is on the panel. Who we see representing us matters. Female judges and prosecutors are necessary to bring a new perspective to their rulings.


A Conversation with Nadya Okamoto: Ranked Choice Voting, Young Women Running, and Representative Democracy

Posted on Blog on November 03, 2017

At the age of 19 years-old, second year Harvard student Nadya Okamoto is running for Cambridge City Council. There are currently twenty-six candidates running for nine at-large council seats on the council, six of which incumbent seats. Cambridge, Massachusetts conducts its elections using ranked choice voting, which allows voters to rank candidates in order of choice. Representation2020 sat down to talk with Nadya about the value of a representative democracy and ranked choice voting. “I am running in a district where over 35% of the demographic is under the age of 25 and over 34% of the adult population is enrolled in the university, yet we’ve never has student or youth representation on council.” As a supporter of representative democracy, she believes “we elect people to be able to represent experiences and basically act as megaphones for what the residents need.” Nadya believes that to truly be representative the council needs to have someone “living the experiences” or “can truly empathize” with the experiences of a student. She is looking to bridge that gap and believes it is important that young people’s voices are in the conversation, especially young women, because they are a part of the community.



Multi-Winner Districts and Women’s Representation: From New Zealand to the United States

Posted on Blog on September 29, 2017

New Zealand recently conducted its 2017 Parliamentary elections. With a mixed member electoral system in the House of Representatives, officials are elected from both single-winner electorates and party lists. In the recent election, 45% of the party list seats (multi-winner) were won by women, compared to only 35% of the general electorate seats (single-winner).