Posted on Blog on May 25, 2018
Four states held primaries/runoffs this week: Texas, Georgia, Kentucky, and Arkansas. I worked hard in 1989 to elect Douglas Wilder to be the first male Black governor elected in the United States so it's particularly exciting to report that Stacey Abrams won the primary in Georgia and now moves forward to the general election. A win in November would make Abrams the first female Black governor in the US. The New York Times reported on her win and Kelly Dittmar from the Center for American Women & Politics provides yet another terrific summary of election outcomes:
Posted on Blog on July 17, 2017
In the context of electoral gender parity, Rwanda is a fascinating case study. Women currently hold 55.7 percent of parliamentary seats in Rwanda, the highest percentage of women in national parliaments globally, and women also constitute half of the country’s 14-member supreme court. The catalyst for the country’s progress was the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. After the genocide, President Paul Kagame had to face the challenge of rebuilding a broken country with little remaining infrastructure and shattered political structures. Only 20 of Rwanda’s 785 judges survived the genocide, and none of the members of the post-genocide Transitional National Assembly had served in the previous government.
Posted on Blog on July 14, 2017
Happy Bastille Day! Next week is the 169th anniversary of the gathering at Seneca Falls, NY of abolitionists and suffragists to talk about achieving women's equality. I find the story of that meeting, the issues that were addressed, and the unity they found, incredibly powerful. Here is the text from the Declaration of Sentiments which ends with this clarion call: In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and national Legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf. We hope this Convention will be followed by a series of Conventions, embracing every part of the country.
Posted on Our Solutions on July 12, 2017
Our mission is to reform the institutions and structures that hold women back from running for office rather than forcing women to change. Increasing the recruitment, training, and funding of women candidates will be more effective in getting women elected at every level of government.
Below are suggestions on how to dismantle these barriers for women who want to run for office.
Setting targets to level the playing field
Recruiting gender-diverse candidates to run for office is one of the central challenges to achieving a democracy which accurately reflects its citizens. RepresentWomen challenges political parties, PACS, and donors to commit to intentional actions to ensure that more women are recruited to run. These voluntary targets mimic the quotas that are used in over 100 nations to fuel the election of women candidates.
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Posted on Blog on June 23, 2017
This past weekend marked significant progress toward gender parity in France. The final round of the French parliamentary elections was held on Sunday, June 18, when voters elected a record number of women to parliamentary seats. Out of the 577 seats, women now fill 223, beating the last election’s record of 115. This is a huge stride toward gender parity, as the French parliament is now 38.7 percent women. According to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the French parliament now ranks 17th in the world for women’s representation in parliaments, an impressive improvement from its previous 64th place finish.
Posted on Blog on June 16, 2017
French voters recently led Emmanuel Macron of En Marche! to a landslide victory over far right candidate Marine Le Pen. One unique aspect of Macron’s campaign was his emphasis on gender parity. Following Macron’s win, En Marche! selected a gender balanced slate of candidates to run for parliament - 214 men and 214 women. As 72.4 percent of current French MPs are men, En Marche! had to reach outside the pool of seasoned politicians in order to add more women to its group of candidates. Fifty-two percent of the candidates selected by En Marche! have never run for another office. The equitable gender distribution of candidates is the result of a conscious effort by Macron to recruit female applicants for parliament during his campaign. Initially, only 15% of applicants were women, leading to a social media plea from Macron: “It’s a failure that makes me sad because we’re on track to be like the others, we’re on track to achieve the same result as we have today in the National Assembly.”
Posted on Blog by on June 15, 2017
Last week, the U.K. election received mass media attention for its partisan outcome, but less so for its unprecedented election of women to Parliament. On Thursday, June 8th, the U.K. made national history by electing 208 women Members of Parliament - the highest number yet. While the new partisan breakdown sparked heated debate and disagreement, the overwhelming appreciation for this achievement crossed party lines. Many also celebrated the election of the first woman Sikh MP, Preet Kaur Gill, and the first Palestinian MP, Layla Moran.