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Pages tagged "Topic:Weekend Reading"

Weekend Reading on Women's Representation September 15th, 2023

Dear Readers,

This week's Weekend Reading is designed to provide an update on our work as we celebrate our 5th anniversary as an independent, non-profit, non partisan organization.

RepresentWomen (then Representation2020) started as a project of FairVote in 2013. Representation 2020 was founded to research the best practices to address the barriers women face in politics as candidates and elected officials in order to advance women's representation and leadership. 

In 2018, Representation2020 became RepresentWomen, an independent research-based organization led by Cynthia Richie Terrell. We secured a multi-year grant from Pivotal Ventures in 2019, worked with many passionate and talented interns, and hired our first staff within a year.

Over the years, we have expanded to twelve staff and four departments (Research, Partnerships, Communications, and Development), hosted wonderful fellows from the U.S. State Department's IREX program , and worked with over 100 hundred interns! We are delighted with how far we have come and can’t wait to continue growing as we work for a truly representative democracy. Thank you for following our journey and for your generous support.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation September 8th, 2023

Dear Readers,

As the U.S. Open draws to a close, it's important to acknowledge its role in advancing gender equality. In his articleScott Allen highlights how tennis icon Billie Jean King championed women's representation by voicing her frustration with the gender disparity in prize money at the 1972 U.S. Open. King threatened not to compete the following year if her needs were unmet. In 1973, Ban deodorant stepped in with a $55,000 grant, the "Ban Equalizer," ensuring the U.S. Open became the first Grand Slam to award equal prize money to both genders.

Billie Jean King, painted by Melanie Humble

King's advocacy and negotiations with Ban made this historic shift possible. As the United States Open commemorates the 50th anniversary of this milestone, it emphasizes the importance of equitable representation and respect for female athletes in sports. This example was later embraced by the larger tennis community, underscoring the relevance of women's representation and merits in the athletic world.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation September 1st, 2023

Dear Readers,

A Time Magazine essay by Jennifer Weiss-Wolf highlights the overlap between feminism and democracy. In 1971, Rep. Bella Abzug proposed that August 26th, the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, be formally recognized as Women’s Equality Day. Abzug, Gloria SteinemShirley Chisholm, and Fannie Lou Hamer also formed the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC). RepresentWomen shares a belief in the imperative of gender equality with the NWPC and the founders of Women’s Equality Day.

Still, women are significantly underrepresented in most states. While women's political power has grown, systemic barriers persist, hindering progress on feminist goals. The overturning of Roe v. Wade and the struggle for the Equal Rights Amendment demonstrate the ongoing battles for women's rights. According to our 2023 Gender Parity Index (GPI), only two states have achieved gender balance in elected office. The U.S. as a whole is about halfway to parity. Our research confirms that jurisdictions with greater percentages of women in office have led to feminist issues becoming a priority.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation August 25th 2023

Dear Readers,

Tomorrow, August 26th, is Women's Equality Day, which marks the anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment. The Amendment gave some women the right to vote. Women of color did not get the right to vote until 1965, when the Voting Rights Act was passed.

Bella Abzug, a feminist, lawyer, and social activist, played a pivotal role in establishing Women's Equality Day. Her nickname “Battling Bella” is a testament to her unwavering dedication to women's rights, which led to the formal recognition of August 26th as Women's Equality Day.

While it is important to celebrate the progress we have made toward gender equality, it is essential that we acknowledge the steps we have yet to take for a more equitable society. This theme is explored in the League of Women Voters' Women's Inequality Day Campaign. Some strides towards gender equality have been reversed, and women of this generation shockingly have fewer rights than generations prior. Sign the petition to help fix this issue today!

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation August 18th, 2023

Dear Readers

Last week, our 10th annual Gender Parity Index was released. Our longest-standing and most extensive body of work fueled some spirited and informed discussions about women’s representation in the U.S. on social media.

Thank you to everyone who shared the GPI on social media!

The Gender Parity Index can be used for:

  • Providing data-backed evidence on the ways democracy reform improves representation outcomes
  • Opening the eyes of communities and decision-makers on the need to invest in change
  • Providing data-backed evidence on the ways democracy reform improves representation outcomes in states that have adopted a given reform
  • Using the GPI as a tool for further research
  • Celebrating your state's progress and the reforms and policies that contributed.
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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation August 11th, 2023

Dear Readers,

This week the RepresentWomen team released the 2023 Gender Parity Index, an annual report outlining the status of women’s representation in the 50 states. Using data from local, state, and national office, the GPI reveals that progress toward a gender-balanced democracy remains slow and uneven across geography, ideology, and race. The United States is only halfway to gender parity, with an average state parity score of 27. At this rate, the nation will not see a gender-balanced democracy for at least another 118 years.

The findings of the 2023 GPI provide ample support for both pipeline initiatives and systems-level strategies that have been proven to increase women’s representation. Implementing reforms such as ranked choice voting makes it possible to achieve gender balance, in politics, in our lifetimes.

A detailed summary of the 2023 GPI is below. Read the full report here to learn more about the status of women’s representation in the United States.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation August 4th, 2023


Dear Readers,

Recently, Frontline featured the World Economic Forum's 17th annual Global Gender Gap report, which highlighted the significant progress needed to achieve global gender parity. The report analyzes 146 countries and finds that it will take 131 years for the world to close the gender gap at the current rate of progress. More women are becoming parliamentarians globally, with an average 22.9% increase. Iceland and Costa Rica have over 33% of women in parliament. However, other countries like Japan and Canada fell behind, with less than one-third of their elected office being women. Despite some progress toward gender equality, there is still a notable lack of women in leadership roles.

By removing the barriers women face when running for office, we can achieve gender equality far sooner. When women are in elected office, issues that affect women garner more attention. Our Impact Analysis of NYC's Woman Majority Council brief finds that legislation regarding childcare, reproductive health, pay equity, and more were introduced in a woman-majority city council. To learn more, check out this piece by our Research Associate, Steph Scaglia for Democracy SOS that summarizes the brief.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation July 21st, 2023


Dear Readers,

This week marks the 175th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention when suffragists and abolitionists convened to ignite the movement for women's political and social equality. A number of the convention leaders were Quakers whose belief in the "inner light" grounded their commitment to the absolute equality among all people. Elizabeth Cady Stanton began the convention with the words, "We are assembled to protest against a form of government, existing without the consent of the governed—to declare our right to be free as man is free." Thus, the women's rights movement was born.

Suffragists Susan B Anthony, Sojourner Truth, & Lucretia Mott, painted by Melanie Humble

Frederick Douglass, who was present at the Seneca Falls convention, later said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. If there is no struggle, there is no progress." The Declaration of Sentiments was exactly that, a demand for power. While the Declaration of Sentiments was written almost two hundred years ago, many of its core messages still ring true today. Women still face challenges in achieving equal representation in government, despite making "historic" gains in elected office in recent years.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation July 14th, 2023

Dear Readers,

The team here at RepresentWomen focuses much of our research on identifying ways to increase women’s political representation – primarily by getting more women elected! We accept it as a given that more women in public office means a more representative democracy. But now that we have entire legislative bodies that are majority women, we have an opportunity to measure that impact and support our intuition with data. When we hosted our Toast to Women Leaders in Democracy event this week, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson expressed our thoughts perfectly, saying “When women lead, democracy wins.” Our analysis of the impact of the majority-women City Council in New York City proves exactly that. We’ll be sharing more of our findings in the coming weeks, but in studying the legislative impact of a council that was majority women of color, we found a tremendous level of effectiveness and responsiveness. We learned through our previous research why women won in the 2021 NYC City Council election, and now we have concrete data to prove why it matters.

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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation July 7th, 2023

Dear Readers,

This week's celebration of the 247th anniversary of the ratification of the Declaration of Independence is a reminder that the United States was founded on the idea that political power comes from the people, not a monarch. While this idea was revolutionary in 1776, the majority of people living in the fledgling nation had little to no say in government -- despite Abigail Adams' plea to "remember the ladies." RepresentWomen imagines a democracy where everyone has a seat at the decision-making table. This week's Weekend Reading features stories about American democracy and the strategies necessary to realize John Adams' dream of government being a "portrait of the people in miniature."

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