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Texas Public Radio

Cynthia Terrell on Texas Public Radio

http://tpr.org/post/source-women-still-less-likely-run-office#stream/0


The Philadelphia Inquirer

With the convening of the Democratic and Republican Parties, we see greater diversity in their national delegations and leadership than what we currently have in Congress. Women hold less than 20 percent of the seats in the Senate and House, making the United States 95th internationally in the number of women elected to national offices.

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The Times Picayune

By Diana Samuels The Times-Picayune

This article and video are part of The Southern Girls Project, an ongoing project exploring the lives of girls in the South today.

An auditorium full of teenage girls clapped, chanted and cheered as candidates for governor skipped around and waved at the crowd. Campaign managers had just three minutes to lobby for votes and trade support, running from group to group before the results would be tallied.

This organized chaos is the democratic process in action at Girls State of Louisiana, an annual program that, among other things, teaches girls how government works. But while about 450 girls gathered at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches in June, enthusiastically running for different positions, planning political projects and managing campaigns, they live in a state with some of the lowest numbers of women serving in elected office.

Less than 15 percent of the state's legislators are women. There are currently no women representing Louisiana in statewide elected office. And Louisiana ranks 39th out of 50 states for gender parity when you look at women serving at federal, state and local levels, according to an index by Representation 2020.

What stops girls like those at Girls State -- passionate about their communities, interested in the political system -- from running for office? And what can be done to change it? 

Not all, or even a majority, of the girls at Girls State are there because they want to be politicians. There are budding lawyers, sociologists, teachers and any number of other professions. They come to learn leadership skills, add a line to their college applications and make friends with other girls from around Louisiana who share similar interests.

But some are politically involved. Annie Noel, a 17-year-old from Mandeville, said she's been interested in politics since 7th grade. She said she doesn't think she would run for office, but would like to work on campaigns at the national level.

"I think the political system is so interesting, in the way that politics has such a visceral effect on people," Noel said. "How issues can get people so angry or excited or happy or upset."

 

Louisiana lawmaker concerned about lack of female participation in state politics

Louisiana lawmaker concerned about lack of female participation in state politics

Most states have between 15 percent and 34 percent female participation in state legislatures, with the average at 24.1 percent.

Na'Lani Zeno, a 17-year-old from Lafayette, said she hadn't really considered politics before attending the program. Now, she said she might reconsider.

"It wasn't even a thought in my head," she said. "I ran for a couple of positions and winning those positions, even losing some, it made you feel like 'Oh my God, this is really what politicians go through,' all the campaigning, everything. It really opens your eyes and I'm just like 'Wow, I might want to do this."

But while short programs like Girls State may spur an initial interest, experts and studies say the work must go further than that if we're going to see women achieve parity in politics.

It wouldn't surprise anyone today to see girls involved in student government at their high schools or serving as class presidents. But something happens in between that point, when girls are willing to put themselves forward and ask their peers for votes, and when they're looking at career paths.

"It comes down to the same thing as for adult women: Girls don't ever think they'll be qualified enough," said Anne Moses, president of IGNITE, an Oakland, Calif.-based organization that works to get girls and young women involved in politics. "Even looking forward, they don't see that changing."

Research shows that the gender gap when it comes to political ambition runs deep, and starts early. A 2013 study by American University professor Jennifer Lawless and Loyola Marymount University professor Richard Fox of 2,100 male and female college students found that young men were twice as likely to have thought "many times" about running for office. Women were 20 percentage points more likely to say they'd never considered it.  Given a choice of potential careers, women were far less likely to say they would want to be a mayor, member of congress or president.

The study argues that "political socialization" is one of the factors behind the gap. While boys and girls grew up in households where they were exposed to the same level of political activity, like watching or discussing the news, far fewer girls and young women were encouraged by their parents or other adults in their lives to run for office.

Early on, parents were supportive at similar levels for each gender: 24 percent of male respondents said their parents encouraged them to run for student government, compared to 25 percent of female respondents. But when it comes to running for office later in life, there's a significant gap: 40 percent of men said they were encouraged to run by their parents, compared to 29 percent of women. That disparity is equally reflected in girls' interactions with a variety of other adults in their lives, such as teachers, coaches, or grandparents. 

southern girls politics.pngA 2013 study by American University Professor Jennifer Lawless and Loyola Marymount University Professor Richard Fox found a significant gap between the political ambitions of young men and women.

The study also draws connections between running for office and playing competitive sports: Girls and young women who had played competitive sports were 25 percent more likely to express political ambition. But boys are more likely to play sports and be exposed to that competitive environment: 87 percent of the young men surveyed had played team sports when they were younger, compared with 72 percent of the women who responded.

"Overall, our results suggest that playing organized sports either provides an opportunity to develop, or reinforces the propensity toward, a competitive spirit," the report said.

"These characteristics relate to running for elective office later in life, and this effect is evident in both female and male college students."

So how do you close that gap? The study says that women are "just as likely as men to respond positively to encouragement to run." Getting women involved in sports from a young age could help, it adds.

And there are some organizations that are dedicated to getting girls involved in politics, surrounding them with that political discussion and that peer motivation that might otherwise be lacking.

Susannah Wellford, who works with girls and young women through her Washington, D.C.-based program Running Start, often finds those in the program are interested in politics but don't see themselves as the actual candidate. They want to be behind the scenes.

"I have talked to thousands and thousands of women of all ages," Wellford said. "For some reason, we as a gender have decided that our talents are better served if we're the queenmakers instead of the queens. I don't have any idea why that seems to be so prevalent, but I do think you can change that."

Moses has had similar experiences with the girls she works with.

"They'll all be like 'Oh no, I don't want to run for office," she said. "They're afraid to say it, where the guys are like, 'I want to be a senator.' For young women, I think they have a really hard time stating something that seems so big and bold if they don't feel like they already have all the qualifications for it."

What's the answer? Both Ignite and Running Start take approaches that involve exposing girls to civic education: Teaching them how government works and about public speaking so that they feel more qualified, and more confident. They connect them with women elected officials, so the idea of running for office doesn't seem so surprising.

"They demystify it -- they realize (the politicians) are not so fancy," Moses said. "They live next to your grandma and they've had a similar life experience to you."

The girls at Girls' State said they feel like politics is clearly dominated by men. It's an environment that rewards confidence, they said -- unless you're a woman, and being commanding becomes a negative.

"I feel like some women, they think about it, they're like 'I want to do this,' but then they already have it in their heads that we're below," Zeno said. "I feel like some women want to do it but then they get out. They get nervous and scared."

That feeling is echoed by the 11- to 17-year-old girls surveyed for a 2014 Girl Scout Research institute poll. While 67 percent of the girls said they were interested in politics, and more than 37 percent were interested in becoming a politician, only 32 percent felt that society encourages women to be politicians. Nearly three-quarters of the girls agreed that "if I went into a career in politics, I'd have to work harder than a man to be taken seriously."

But the girls at Girls State said they were motivated by the supportive, passionate atmosphere there, being surrounded by other girls and young women who care about improving their worlds. And they said they were inspired, regardless of their personal political beliefs, to see high-profile women like Hillary Clinton succeeding on the national political stage.

"It's like it's finally starting to happen, it just gives us a push," said Brooke Badeaux, a 17-year-old from Lafayette. "We are all told, especially at Girls State, you can do anything you set your minds to, you're going to be great... But to finally see something happening – the world's changing and evolving."

Do you know a girl we should talk to, or want to find out more about The Southern Girls Project? Email us at [email protected] or click here for more information. The project is a collaboration with journalists throughout the South: See other work on the "Rebelle" Tumblr page.  


Emerge Vermont

The Other Paper http://www.otherpapersbvt.com/emerge-vermont-democratic-women-changing-vermonts-political-landscape.html

When 26-year old entrepreneur Brandy Oswald of South Burlington began her training this year with Emerge Vermont—a five-month program dedicated to increasing the number of Democratic women in public office—she wondered if she belonged. She was surrounded by women of various ages, backgrounds, and experiences. By May graduation, her biggest takeaway was that she was exactly where she needed to be, and she most certainly belonged.

“The program taught me that regardless of what anyone might say, I belong in the political world,” she said. “I am allowed to stand up, to be loud, and to advocate for my community.”

Launched in 2013, Emerge Vermont identifies, trains and encourages women to run for office, get elected, and seek higher office. The program offers instruction from expert trainers in strategy, ethics, public speaking and communication, fundraising and finance, media and messaging, networking, field organizing, and women’s political leadership.

Oswald was among one of the 17 women who graduated from the campaign training program on May 7, bringing the overall alumnae count to 29.

Emerge Vermont is a chapter of Emerge America, which accounts for over 1,500 alumnae across 16 states. Vermont became the 14th state to affiliate with Emerge America.

While the Emerge Vermont training in itself is rewarding, the results are even more impressive; 52 percent of women who participated in the program have run or been appointed to office, and 70 percent have won. However, the work is far from over, as women are still an underrepresented voice, not only in Vermont, but nationally and internationally.

In Vermont’s 225 years of statehood, no woman has ever been elected to Congress, and only one woman has served as governor, former Gov. Madeleine Kunin. Among the state’s eight cities that elect mayors, only one is a woman, Saint Albans’ Mayor Liz Gamache.

Vermont is a national leader of women’s representation in its state legislature, and women account for 41 percent of the 180 state legislators. Women account for only 20 percent of the over 1,000 local selectboard members.

According to Representation 2020’s “The State of Women’s Representation 2015-2016,” Vermont earned a state ranking of 41 out of 50, and a gender parity score of 11.5 out of 100 points.

Nationally, women make up 19.4 percent of the 535 seats in Congress and 24.6 percent of state legislature, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. Globally, women account for 22 percent of Parliament/Congress.

These statistics shed a stronger light on Emerge Vermont’s cause, but numbers aside, the program stresses that women in politics bring different perspectives on policy issues and decisions that are currently being dominated by their male counterparts.

While Emerge Vermont alumnae have demonstrated interest in politics, the political path is not the only outlet for experience.

Take Oswald, for instance. Politically, she recently volunteered on Rep. Kesha Ram’s, D-Burlington, campaign launch event for lieutenant governor and Williston Selectboard member Debbie Ingram’s campaign launch event for state senate. Prior to that, Oswald volunteered as a legislative intern for Ram’s 2012 re-election campaign, as well as a number of local races.

Oswald also assumes the role of founder and CEO of Body Love Tribe, an organization that promotes body positivity for women of all ages through events, retreats, online programs, and a virtual community. Additionally, she’s assisted in creating Nandi Animal Rescue, instructs yoga at Sangha Studio among other locations, and has contributed to a variety of publications.

Then she added Emerge Vermont to her list of priorities. Oswald heard of Emerge Vermont through Ram months before its inception. She volunteered at Emerge Vermont’s launch event at Hotel Vermont and other Burlington-based Emerge Vermont events.

“Emerge helped me find the confidence to stand tall and proud as a female entrepreneur, and to recognize the unique approach that women offer to the world of business” she said.

“[It] demonstrated the importance of surrounding myself with powerful women. It also reminded me of the importance of empowering women to be leaders.”

Since graduating, Oswald has launched a virtual course to connect women from around the world and provide them with confidence-boosting tools. In June, she hosted a three-day women’s retreat designed for connection, support, and empowerment.

During her training, Oswald found inspiration in one of her colleagues, Heidi Remick, a mother of two with a career in criminal justice, who ran a successful write-in campaign for Weatherfield School Board months after Emerge Vermont.

“She proved to me that women can simultaneously be effective leaders, mothers, employees, supervisors, and more. She also reminded me that often the best time to start your next great adventure is before you think you’re ready.”

In Chittenden County, two Emerge Vermont alumnae are running for a state senate seat: Ingram, Williston Selectboard member and Executive Director of Vermont Interfaith Action (Class of 2016), and Dawn Ellis, President of Dawn M Ellis and Associates, LLC and a Vermont Human Rights Commissioner (inaugural Class of 2014).

“The idea that we can, through education, develop new pathways to political leadership, is a powerful one,” Ellis said of Emerge Vermont. It breaks away from the “old way” of entering politics.

“To have those perspectives allows us to develop a skillset and gives us the opportunity to make better decisions.”

“I’ve had connection with a number of people who have gone through the Emerge Program,” explained South Burlington Rep. Helen Head. “I am enormously impressed with them. I think women often need a little extra information and encouragement in order to run for office and participate in public service, and the Emerge program provides that.”

Oswald has advice for future Emerge Vermont students and politicians.

“Start before you’re ready. You belong in the political world right now as you are,” Oswald said. Other tips: network, volunteer, and connect with Emerge Vermont.
“Reach out to campaign staff for state and local candidates and offer your volunteer efforts. Go to school board meetings, selectboard meetings, city council meetings, and any networking events in your area. Walk in there like you belong to be there...because you do.”

For more information about Vermont Emerge, visit www.emergevt.org, or contact Executive Director Ruth Hardy at [email protected].


My Country

By Bill Schwamle

Wyoming has a lot going for it when it comes to giving women access to political office. We are nicknamed the Equality State for a reason. Wyoming was the first to give women the right to vote in 1869. Nellie Tayloe Ross was the first female Governor in Wyoming and the US. Right now Cynthia Lummis holds office in the US House of Representatives.

Looking at a map from Vox.com something becomes apparent. The Equality state hasn’t had a female US Senator.

If you remember from civics class, each state gets 2 Senators giving each the same amount of power. US House of Representatives gives states with more people more representatives. In the Equality State we have 2 Senators (like everyone else.) Since Wyoming is the least populous state, we get the fewest reps in the house. The Cowboy State has one representative out of the 435 total.

For Wyoming we have the most  “bang for your buck” in the US Senate. Any one Wyoming Senator controls 1% of the total votes. As far as US House, our one representative controls 0.229% of the total votes. Of course, all of this is pure mathematical and ignores things like party lines, political agenda, thoughts of constituents, or influence from lobbyist.

The website Representation2020.com placed Wyoming at 21st place. The Equality state is not 100% equal. Nothing is ever perfect – especially in politics. We sure do have a good start with the first woman governor and the first state to give women the right to vote, but there is always room for improvement.

http://mycountry955.com/how-does-wyoming-compare-to-other-states-with-women-in-congress/

The website Representation2020.com placed Wyoming at 21st place. The Equality state is not 100% equal. Nothing is ever perfect – especially in politics. We sure do have a good start with the first woman governor and the first state to give women the right to vote, but there is always room for improvement.

Read More: How does Wyoming Compare to Other States with Women in Congress? | http://mycountry955.com/how-does-wyoming-compare-to-other-states-with-women-in-congress/?trackback=tsmclip

Wyoming has a lot going for it when it comes to giving women access to political office. We are nicknamed the Equality State for a reason. Wyoming was the first to give women the right to vote in 1869. Nellie Tayloe Ross was the first female Governor in Wyoming and the US. Right now Cynthia Lummis holds office in the US House of Representatives.

Looking at a map from Vox.com something becomes apparent. The Equality state hasn’t had a female US Senator.

If you remember from civics class, each state gets 2 Senators giving each the same amount of power. US House of Representatives gives states with more people more representatives. In the Equality State we have 2 Senators (like everyone else.) Since Wyoming is the least populous state, we get the fewest reps in the house. The Cowboy State has one representative out of the 435 total.

For Wyoming we have the most  “bang for your buck” in the US Senate. Any one Wyoming Senator controls 1% of the total votes. As far as US House, our one representative controls 0.229% of the total votes. Of course, all of this is pure mathematical and ignores things like party lines, political agenda, thoughts of constituents, or influence from lobbyist.

The website Representation2020.com placed Wyoming at 21st place. The Equality state is not 100% equal. Nothing is ever perfect – especially in politics. We sure do have a good start with the first woman governor and the first state to give women the right to vote, but there is always room for improvement.



Read More: How does Wyoming Compare to Other States with Women in Congress? | http://mycountry955.com/how-does-wyoming-compare-to-other-states-with-women-in-congress/?trackback=tsmclip

Wyoming has a lot going for it when it comes to giving women access to political office. We are nicknamed the Equality State for a reason. Wyoming was the first to give women the right to vote in 1869. Nellie Tayloe Ross was the first female Governor in Wyoming and the US. Right now Cynthia Lummis holds office in the US House of Representatives.

Looking at a map from Vox.com something becomes apparent. The Equality state hasn’t had a female US Senator.

If you remember from civics class, each state gets 2 Senators giving each the same amount of power. US House of Representatives gives states with more people more representatives. In the Equality State we have 2 Senators (like everyone else.) Since Wyoming is the least populous state, we get the fewest reps in the house. The Cowboy State has one representative out of the 435 total.

For Wyoming we have the most  “bang for your buck” in the US Senate. Any one Wyoming Senator controls 1% of the total votes. As far as US House, our one representative controls 0.229% of the total votes. Of course, all of this is pure mathematical and ignores things like party lines, political agenda, thoughts of constituents, or influence from lobbyist.

The website Representation2020.com placed Wyoming at 21st place. The Equality state is not 100% equal. Nothing is ever perfect – especially in politics. We sure do have a good start with the first woman governor and the first state to give women the right to vote, but there is always room for improvement.



Read More: How does Wyoming Compare to Other States with Women in Congress? | http://mycountry955.com/how-does-wyoming-compare-to-other-states-with-women-in-congress/?trackback=tsmclip
Read more

Cosmopolitan.com

By Prachi Gupta from Cosmopolitan Magazine

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/news/a57522/congress-sexism-women/

Congress is sexist. So says Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, a former journalist and health-care executive who in 2012 became the first woman from her district to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. As she faces reelection in November, one of her top missions is to flood Congress with women and people of color so the lawmakers drafting bills "truly reflect the makeup of America."

Bustos spoke to Cosmopolitan.com at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Women's Issues Conference in New York City on Monday, where party leaders like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi celebrated one dozen women currently running for Congress. Among them are former Orlando police chief Val Demings, former Maine state senator Emily Cain, and Cedar Rapids City Council member Monica Vernon — who, if elected, would become the first woman Iowa has ever placed in the US House of Representatives.

"Let's look at the fact that equal pay for equal work has not made progress. What other explanation can there be other than that there's some sexism at play?" said Bustos, who serves as the vice chair of the DCCC's recruitment committee and co-chair of the Red to Blue committee, an effort to put Democrats in seats currently occupied by Republicans. "Why are we not making progress on campus sexual assault? Why are we not making more progress on sexual assault in the military? These are issues that are mostly female victims that we're talking about. Women can relate to this issue in a way that is very, very personal," she said.

"I mean, can you imagine if we had a woman president, a woman Speaker of the House and if we picked up more seats in Congress with women members? Can you even imagine that those issues wouldn't make some headway?" Bustos asked.

Though women are 51 percent of the population, they make up just 19 percent of Congress, 24 percent of state legislators, and 12 percent of governors, according to the Representation 2020 Project. At the current rate of change, according to research by the Institute for Women' Policy, political parity for women is still over a century away. 

Bustos, who has campaigned for all these female candidates, says that recruiting women is a "very different process" than for recruiting men. "Women typically, the first questions they ask is how is this going to impact my family? How do you take it, running for political office, when it is so nasty?" she explains. Women are also concerned "about whether they will be able to grasp the complexity of the issues that face our nation," she says. "Men are typically like, 'Can I win?' I kid you not."

Bustos's observations are backed up by empirical research. According to a 2012 study by the Women & Politics Institute at American University's School of Public Affairs, compared to men, women are less encouraged to run for political office, are less likely to consider themselves qualified for office, are more likely to perceive a negative bias from the media, and are still responsible for a majority of household- and family-related work.

In an on-stage interview with Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles during a luncheon at the event, Pelosi encouraged more women to participate in politics — and to stop being humble. "I want our candidates to be immodest," she said. "Have confidence, be strong, be proud. And take credit for who you are and what you do."



Daily Trojan

With Hillary Clinton at the forefront of the presidential race, one might be tempted to ignore the startling gender disparity that exists elsewhere in U.S. politics. From birth, Americans are taught that their country represents the quintessence of “democratic” values. In this familiar tale, one learns that, here in the United States, equal opportunity and equal representation exist for everyone. However, upon closer examination, a confounding truth emerges: Women hold less than 20 percent of congressional seats, despite constituting a majority of the country’s population. A movement toward gender parity, consistent with the democratic values this country claims to uphold, will require not only breaking down gender stereotypes, but also a reformed electoral system that accommodates more than two political parties.

According to Representation2020, a program by FairVote, the United States ranks 95th in the world for the percentage of women in its national legislature — behind countries such as Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, which American political discourse conveniently labels “backwards” while praising the U.S. and other Western countries as “progressive.” The numbers further highlight this hypocrisy. As of today, there are only 20 women serving in the Senate and 84 women in the House of Representatives. On the local and state levels, the numbers are equally disappointing. Women hold less than 25 percent of statewide and state legislative offices, while locally, less than 20 percent of cities have a female mayor. The paucity of female leaders on the national, state and local level is due, in large part, to the scant number of women running for office — the result of pervasive gender stereotypes.

Gender bias is one of the most salient barriers to a woman’s decision to run for political office. According to a Pew Research study entitled Obstacles to Female Leadership, about 47 percent of females believe women running for political office are expected to meet higher standards and must do more to prove themselves to their parties and constituents. In contrast, only 28 percent of men see these expectations as impediments to the eventual election of female candidates. Organizations like Name It. Change It. and Representation2020 are attempting to combat the sexist and misogynistic media narratives that discourage women from entering politics. These organizations encourage greater female candidacy by holding political parties accountable. Despite these efforts, at the current rate of progress, 500 years must pass before women reach full gender parity in terms of equal political representation.

This unconscionable rate mandates a more radical solution — specifically, a reformed electoral system based on proportional representation. Elections to the House of Representatives and most state legislatures are held in single-winner districts, based on a winner-take-all electoral system. This means that the party that receives the most votes wins the entire district. If one party receives 49 percent of the vote and the other, 51 percent of the vote, the former party with 49 percent loses entirely. In an electoral system based on proportional representation, political parties win seats in proportion to their share of the vote. In a 10-seat district, for example, candidates who receive 40 percent of the vote will receive four seats. Proportional representation has historically, across different countries, improved minor parties’ chances for election. In contrast, winner-take-all electoral systems typically favor the parties with the greatest resources, like the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. Providing minor-party candidates a chance at election is imperative. Minor parties, like the Green Party, tend to emphasize issues largely ignored in the mainstream and prioritize female leadership. In the face of greater competition, major parties, seeking to widen their appeal, will likely nominate more women.

Supporting electoral reform indicates support for progressive policy. For voters who wish to see social issues take precedence in the state and national legislatures, encouraging female candidacy and election is critically important. In the name of equality and fairness, everyone should join the initiative to honor the political voice that every woman rightfully deserves.


The Dartmouth Paper

By Zachary Benjamin

In light of this week’s Student Assembly debates and this weekend’s upcoming elections, candidates and their platforms have been at the center of many campus conversations. But less has been said about the gender imbalances that have characterized Student Assembly elections over the past few years — and indeed, as a trend throughout its history.

For the second year in a row, there are no female candidates running for Student Assembly president. No female candidate who was not a write-in has run since 2013, and the College has not had a female student body president since 2009. In the election cycles from 2009 to 2015, 18 men have run for president, compared to seven women — a gender ratio just under three-to-one. This year’s ballot drives that ratio even higher, with six male candidates and no female candidates.

The last seven years have not merely been an exception to a more balanced rule. Since 1993, Dartmouth has seen 87 men run for president, compared to just 18 women, representing a ratio of nearly five-to-one. In that same time period, the College has seen three times the number of male presidents to female ones: 18 male and six female. This adds up to 24 presidents over a 23 year period: the extra person comes from 1993, which held a second election after the first elected candidate resigned almost immediately during a scandal.

Elections planning and advisory committee chair Derek Whang ’17 had no comment on the broader trend, though he said that in last year’s election EPAC was slower and less consistent in reaching out to the community, which might have contributed to the low number of candidates that year.

At the same time, gender imbalances also exist within elections for Student Assembly vice president. From 1993 to 2015, 50 men and 18 women ran for vice president. Of those, 14 men and nine women won, a slightly lower men-to-women ratio than for the presidency.

In the last several years gender enrollment has been near equal — since 2013, the difference between the number of men and women in one class has not exceeded 24, and the number of years where men are the majority is equal to the number of years they are a minority.

Going back to 1993, the pattern remains similar. Though there were a number of years in the early 1990s when there were significantly more men per class than women, the gender balance has remained mostly equal. The greatest disparity between men and women as a percentage of the class body was about 10 percent for the Class of 1996. Women are not merely running in fewer absolute numbers — they are underrepresented both in the number of candidates running and the number elected.

The trend of gender disparity is not one that is limited to Dartmouth’s campus, but appears at many levels in the United States government and other student governments.

Government professor Deborah Brooks wrote in an email that studies suggest that disproportionate numbers of female officials in national politics are likely the result of fewer female candidates running, not due to differences in media coverage or gender stereotyping. However, this still leaves unanswered the question of why so few women have chosen to run.

Others have pointed to structural issues in the U.S. election process as a potential answer. Cynthia Terrell, founder and chair of Representation2020, which seeks to raise awareness about issues of women in politics, said that factors such as voting systems and recruiting practices could keep women out of politics.

Terrell highlighted the importance of having discussions about intentionally recruiting women to run if one seeks to lower the gender imbalance in elected positions, especially on college campuses. Though she acknowledged the importance of seeking the “best and brightest” to run, she also said it is important to keep structural barriers against women in mind.

Lindsay Bubar, a political consultant and director of the Southern California program of Emerge California — a group dedicated to training Democratic women to run for office — said that one reason there are fewer female officials at various levels of government is an “ambition gap” between men and women. Noting that she was speaking broadly, she said that many women feel that their talents can be better applied outside of political office. Combined with societal sexism and lack of mentoring opportunities, this can lead to fewer women running for office, she said.

Bubar noted that when women run for office, they tend to succeed at similar rates as men, which suggests that differences in the number of male and female officials are because of a lack of female candidates. To get more women running at all levels, there needs to be more training and mentorship for women, she said. At the college level, this kind of support could come from professors or other leaders on campus, she said.

Whang said that EPAC, which is in charge of organizing elections to Student Assembly and Class Councils, has not specifically tried to garner candidates from any particular group. Instead, they are focused on upholding their guidelines to hold free and fair elections, he said. Any outreach efforts would have to be done through affinity groups on campus, he added, not directly through EPAC.

One reform Terrell highlighted which she said could be applied to college campuses is using instant-runoff voting, in which voters rank candidates in their order of preference. After a round of voting, if no candidate has received a majority, the least popular candidate is dropped from the ballot and their votes redistributed to the second-choice candidate of their voters. This continues until a candidate receives a majority.

EPAC adopted an instant-runoff voting system in 2005. In 2011, they replaced it with a winner-take-all approval voting system, in which voters can vote for multiple candidates on a single ballot. During the time in which instant-runoff voting was in place, four male candidates and two female candidates were elected as president.

http://www.thedartmouth.com/article/2016/04/last-23-years-of-assembly-candidates-see-gender-disparity/


University of Brigham Young Capstone Conference

By Emily Thorn Brigham Young University Capstone Conference

The United States is arguably the most developed nation in the world with the most influential economy, the most powerful military, and the longest standing unbroken democratic tradition. So why is it, that when it comes to gender equality in the political spectrum, America is so far behind? The United States is currently ranked 90th among countries in the world in terms of women’s representation in government (Sedghi).. The United States is also well behind many nations, like Great Britain and Germany, by never electing a woman into executive office. Currently women make up approximately 51% of the population of the United States (Representation 2020). Despite these statistics, women only comprise 18% of Congress, 24% of State Legislators, and 10% of Governors (Representation 2020). Cynthia Terrell, chair of Fair Vote’s “Represent 2020” project estimates that at current rates, “women will not achieve fair representation for nearly 500 years.” Rumors have began to circulate around potential female candidates running for president in the coming 2016 presidential election. I believe the question for American citizens to answer is not whether they are ready for Hilary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren, but rather are they ready for a female in that type of leadership role?


Daily Kos

By Susan Grigsby Daily Kos

Perhaps we should consider women’s struggle for equality to be like the tides—or rather, like ocean waves hitting the shore. Each time we make progress up the beach, we carry away a little of the sand as we recede back into the ocean.

As an example, the Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress in March 1972. The high water mark for the ERA probably occurred in 1979, when it was only three states short of ratification. We came so close to success before we receded under the gravitational force of the conservative backlash led by Phyllis Shlafly, who peddled the usual lie-based fears about equality for women.

On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court granted us control of our own bodies. The right to make a medical decision was taken out of the hands of the state and given back to women and their doctors. And for a few, brief years, abortion was as readily available to women as was a Pap smear. Today, unless you are wealthy, or living in a blue state, they are becoming increasingly hard to obtain. And so on another front, the slow erosion of what had once been considered our rights continues.

Meanwhile, this year on International Women’s Day, every single major cable network gave Donald Trump more than an hour for a veritable informercial while Hillary Clinton was giving an uncovered speech in Cleveland. Hello? Anybody there? WTF!?!?! Even Sanders’ campaign called foul:

Today there are 20 female United States senators, according to Fair Vote. Exactly none of them are African-American women. Only 27 states have ever sent a woman to the Senate. Currently, only 17 states have a woman as a senator—including three: Washington, New Hampshire and California, that have two women serving in the Senate.

Representation 2020, from the Center for American Women and Politics, reports that there are 104 women representatives serving in the House, or 19.3 percent. Thirty-three of them are women of color, or 6.2 percent of the total House. Roughly one in five of the members of both Houses of our federal legislature are women. 

On the upside, we are no longer ranked 98th in female representation within legislative bodies internationally. We have reached 95th place. Out of 191 countries.

Which still beats the stats from the executive branch, which has never had a woman as a president or a vice president. No woman has ever represented her party as a presidential nominee. Only two have appeared on a national ticket as vice presidential nominees.

There are multiple reasons why women, who are 51 percent of the population, don’t get elected in this country, a self-proclaimed leader of democracy in the free world. Raising money is a serious issue for female candidates, as traditional big-money political donors do not easily give money to women. And when, after much work and persuasion, they finally do (as they have for Hillary Clinton), she is attacked for accepting it. According to the United Nations’ Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women:

The role of money in political campaigns has grown significantly in the last decades and has drastically altered the landscape for elections and political participation. Women’s difficulty in fundraising is considered to result from complex causes. In particular, it is a result of exclusion from the predominantly male political networks that promote funding. It also results from underlying factors, such as negative stereotypes and biased presentation of women in the media, which adversely affect both women’s fundraising ability and their political candidacy.

Speaking of bias in the media, the Women’s Media Center tracks how many of the talking heads on cable television are attached to female bodies. Even though one of the presidential primary candidates is a woman, only Anderson Cooper gave close to equal exposure to women analysts.

Which brings us to the ridiculously offensive scene on MSNBC, in which three men interrupted her speech to seriously discuss the way that Hillary Clinton uses a microphone. Apparently she allows her voice to rise during a speech instead of doing it the way they would. Sorry Lawrence, she is not an actress. And Chris Matthews? Really? You dare to criticize anyone for raising their voice?  As Alana Horowitz Satlin wrote for Huffpost Media:

The former secretary of state's speaking voice has long been a topic of conversation. Various pundits, including Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward and Fox News' Geraldo Rivera, have referred to her voice as "unpleasant," "unrelaxed" and "bitter." Even Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, who also has a tendency to raise his voice, said Clinton's "shouting" was "uncomfortable."

Saying that your discussion is not gender-based does not make it so. The implication is clearly that women are not supposed to raise their voices. Men can shout on the stump all they want and it is considered a passionate defense of ideals. A woman shouts and it is “uncomfortable,” “angry, bitter screaming.” The fact that with her knowledge and expertise she can, and does, run circles around anyone else running in either party is totally, completely ignored. Her tone is what is important.

Interestingly, if Hillary Clinton mentions that she is running to be the first woman president of the United States, she is panned for “playing the sex card.” As if sexism is a relic from the ancient past in which women were not fully represented in our political realm. As if men don’t sit around and discuss her “tone.” As if networks don’t broadcast an hour-long steak commercial from a huckster while ignoring her remarks. As if the votes of women do not consistently give the Democrats the extra points that they need to win elections.

On August 18, 2020, this nation will celebrate the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which took 40 years to pass and granted women the right to vote. I would dearly love to see a woman, as president, hosting that celebration. The only thing that I want more than to have a woman as president on that day is to have the president be a Democrat. Whoever we nominate will have my vote, because nothing could be worse for this country than to have a Republican in the White House with a majority in both Houses of Congress.

But oh, I would so love to see a woman—someone who looks like me—exercising the power of the presidency.