Pages tagged "Topic:Weekend Reading"
As Black History Month comes to a close, RepresentWomen continues to highlight the state of Black women's representation in the U.S. and worldwide.Read more
As RepresentWomen reflects on the Beyond Winner Take All Conference (hosted by the Ash Center) a week later, we remember that progress in women's representation is slow going. This week's Weekend Reading highlights the importance of women in politics, and why our democracy falls short when we let them down.Read more
A few members of the RepresentWomen team had the incredible opportunity to attend the Beyond Winner Take All Conference hosted by the Ash Center at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge this week! We had such thoughtful conversations about proportional representation and the research around various electoral reforms to help us build a healthier democracy. Huge thanks to the FairVote team for helping to organize this gathering of advocates, scholars, and reformers!
In honor of Black History Month, this week's Weekend Reading focuses on celebrating Black woman leaders.Read more
Happy Black History Month! This month and every month, RepresentWomen works to uplift Black women leaders in every sphere. Black women and women of color are severely underrepresented, not just in politics but in other leadership positions. We have data on the racial breakdown, along with other demographics, for women in elected positions. The systems reforms we advance like ranked choice voting are pivotal solutions because they help to increase representation for women of color, as seen by our Bay Area Case Study.Read more
The nation celebrated Ranked Choice Voting Day on Monday, but every day is RCV Day at RepresentWomen! Stories from this week highlight the use of RCV in a diverse range of states and situations. RCV truly is the fastest-growing election reform in America in 2023, and for good reason. It solves fundamental problems in our politics – like the representation crisis. Our research shows that building women's political power requires system reforms to ensure women can run, win, serve, and lead.
How Political Gender Quotas Affect Corruption
An article by Psychology Today showcases how women's representation in politics can reduce corruption in the political sphere. RepresentWomen has a detailed list of the percentages of women in the National Legislatures (Lower House) and what that looks like as of December 2022. Understanding gender inequality and how this affects political outcomes and corruption can go long way.
“The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) reports that more than half of the countries of the world have enacted gender quotas to increase women’s participation in elected office…
Quotas were implemented because studies found that where women lead, both in government and in industry, there is lower corruption…
The Effects of Gender Quotas on Corruption: Are Women the Solution?" found that the presence of a gender quota leads to a 0.204 percent decrease in corruption. The effect is small but still statistically significant…
In 2023 the takeaway for policymakers stands: that adopting gender quotas will likely benefit their constituents beyond just equitable representation. Implementing gender quotas as a means to decrease corruption works.”
AAPI Winners: Proportional RCV and Representation at the Oscars
Michelle Yeoh wins best actress at the Golden Globes.
The Academy Award nominations used multi-winner, proportional ranked choice voting. This form of RCV ensures that winners are selected proportionally to the number of vote casts. In 2015, the Oscars experienced the #OscarsSoWhite scandal. In 2022, the increased diversity is clear.
Michelle Yeoh was also named TIME 2022's Icon of the Year:
Yeoh has been a major star in Asia for decades—she was a giant in the golden age of Hong Kong action cinema, top-lining dozens of films and earning a reputation for nailing daring stunts. And she made her Hollywood debut in the 1997 James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies,” following up that success with roles in major movies like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings...”
“I’ve thought about it,” Yeoh tells @lucyfeld. “And not just me—I feel like my full Asian community has thought about it. They come up to me and they say, ‘You’re doing it for us.’”
I had the opportunity in 2019 to visit the American Academy of Motion Pictures Office in Los Angeles! The conference table below is where the board of governors of the American Academy of Motion Pictures meets and it was terrific to see yet another place where ranked choice voting is being used.
Andrew Yang Talks Ranked Choice Voting in South Carolina
On January 23 ranked choice voting supporters gathered at the South Carolina Statehouse, saying the current electoral system is “broken” and proposed ranked choice voting as a solution. The event was headlined by Andrew Yang, who ran for president in 2020.
Ranked choice voting helps women win elections by eliminating vote splitting/spoilers and encourages positive campaigning. This week RepresentWomen released a memo titled “Ranked Choice Voting and Women's Representation” about how ranked choice voting benefits women. For more information on RCV check out our newly updated RCV Dashboard.
“This is the only way to improve our politics, change the incentives and make it so our leaders have to answer to us,” Yang told the eclectic crowd of members of the Green Party, Libertarian Party, and other ranked-choice enthusiasts. About 50 people attended.
“Half the time your vote doesn’t matter, and most Americans know that because they’ve been set up in a district where their vote doesn’t count,” he said.
In ranked-choice voting, also known as instant runoff voting, voters rank the candidates in order of preference. The candidate with the lowest number of first-rank votes is eliminated and their voters’ votes are resigned to their second choice and so on until a winner emerges.
Columbia University Names First Woman President
Nemat Shafik will be Columbia University’s new president. The economist has served as the president of the London School of Economics. Before her role at LSE, Dr. Shalif was the deputy governor of the Bank of England. She was the Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from April 2011 until March 2014.
The changes in academic areas are reflective of society's push for equal representation. To concur with The Honorable Baroness Shafik, relevancy matters. Right now, nothing is more relevant than women breaking glass ceilings through leadership and service.
In a letter to the Columbia community, the university’s board of trustees said it had found a “perfect candidate” in Dr. Shafik, 60, a “brilliant and able global leader, a community builder and a pre-eminent economist who understands the academy and the world beyond it.”
The selection of Dr. Shafik, known as Minouche, marks the first time a woman has been named to lead the prestigious New York institution. It follows the recent appointments of women to head other top universities, including Harvard, Dartmouth, M.I.T., the University of Pennsylvania, and George Washington University.
She will assume the Columbia presidency in July, succeeding Lee C. Bollinger, at a tumultuous time in the academic world. Universities face a pending Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, as well as debates over free speech and the high cost of education, college rankings, pay for teaching assistants, and other issues.
During an appearance where she was introduced to Columbia’s campus on Wednesday, Dr. Shafik emphasized her commitment to “increase the diversity of people and ideas and lived experiences” and address skeptics who doubt the value of education.
“We are at a moment in history where universities need to be both scholarly and relevant,” she added.
State Representative Vicki Goodwin Seeks to Make RCV a Reality in TX
Texas State Representative Vikki Goodwin has proposed new legislation that will bring ranked choice voting to the lone star state! Although Goodwin’s plan to implement RCV in Texas has received criticism from some members of the public as well as elected public servants, many of her like-minded peers have thrown their support behind the representative.
"The goal is to eliminate run-offs for non-partisan elections," said State Representative Vicki Goodwin.
The Democrat from Austin filed the bill that would bring ranked-choice voting for local municipal elections.
"If no one gets the majority, then they look at who got the least number of votes. Then take those ballots and now they count the second place votes and add them to the prior votes, so in the second round someone may get a majority of votes. At that point in time, they win the election," said Goodwin.
State Representative Carl Sherman implemented ranked-choice voting for the election of committee, board and commission members during his time as mayor of DeSoto.
"I think what Representative Goodwin filed is a thoughtful bill that gets us closer to a more perfect democracy," said Sherman.
Goodwin hopes her proposal gets to the floor for a vote.
"If we start with our municipal elections people may see how it works and realize it has a lot of benefits," she said.
City Council Considers Manhattan Board of Elections Nominee Who Ruled in Ranked Choice Voting Case
NYC’s implementation of RCV in 2021 resulted in historic outcomes that allowed women to successfully run, win, and lead. However, it also raised concerns from independent organizations and lawmaking bodies. The New York City Council experienced internal fractionalization because of differing opinions about the implementation of RCV.
The first ranked-choice election was held in February 2021, in a special election for City Council District 24 in Queens. But in the months prior to that election, six members of the Council’s Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus, all Democrats, sued to stop its implementation, citing concerns about the pandemic’s disruption and arguing that the Board of Elections had failed to adequately educate voters about the system, which could subsequently disenfranchise racial minorities.
But Edmead, a retiring Manhattan Supreme Court Judge and ally of Manhattan Democratic county leader Keith Wright, refused the Council members’ plea ahead of the special election and eventually struck down the lawsuit in May 2021.
Despite the data, Speaker Adams still has her reservations. “As one of many who questioned the implementation of ranked-choice voting, my belief is still that education was not appropriate to those that ranked-choice voting was meant to serve,” she said at the hearing.
There is some weight to her concerns. An analysis by Politico New York showed that wealthier, whiter neighborhoods were more likely to more extensively use ranked-choice voting than low-income communities of color.
“My opinion is that the data was in the voting itself…People of the City of New York spoke and chose not to use it in way too many cases for my druthers, but that's just my opinion,” she added.
How Japan is Tackling Gender Inequality
Japan’s minister in charge of women's empowerment and gender equality has a formidable task ahead. Japan has the widest gender pay gap of G-7 nations, and ranked 116th out of 146 countries in the World Economic Forum's 2022 Gender Gap Report. Gender equality in Japan by any measure – wealth, time spent on domestic labor, representation in government – is abysmally low. Minister Masanobu Ogura has pledged to work hard to address these disparities.
Critics say Ogura’s appointment is part of the problem. The person in charge of women’s empowerment in Japan is a man.
As Japan takes over the presidency of the G-7 in 2023, Ogura will by default chair the G-7 gender equality ministers’ meeting, scheduled for June in Nikko, Japan. He will be the only man at the table.
“In 2018, Japan passed an Act on the Promotion of Gender Equality in the Political Field, requiring state and local governments, along with political parties, to "endeavor" to promote gender equality. The act was followed in 2020 by a new government target of at least 35% female candidates in all local and national elections by 2025. But neither the 2018 law nor the 2020 target came with any enforceable measures, such as gender quotas.”
Some say the appointment of Ogura to the women’s empowerment post makes a mockery of women’s issues. In 2021, Ogura participated in a stunt in which he wore a pregnancy suit for 48 hours, an effort he says helped him understand the challenges women face.
"I received a lot of criticism from women who had gone through pregnancy," Ogura told Nikkei Asia in a recent interview. "They were saying: 'Don't pretend you understand what it's like after just wearing a jacket for two days. The struggle of pregnancy goes on for 10 months, and comes with the pain of giving birth.'"
Ogura added, "It brought home to me how much men, including myself, don't understand [about women]."
This week, I ventured down to Atlanta, Georgia to be a guest lecturer at Kennesaw State University. It was wonderful getting to speak with great professors including Timothy Matthews (pictured below) and students about women's representation in the United States and internationally!
That's it for this week, enjoy your weekend!
- Cynthia and the RepresentWomen team
Ranked Choice Voting Day is coming up on Monday, January 23rd! You may have seen that we’ve been counting down to RCV Day on our social media this week and providing some great ways to take action. We’re looking forward to bringing you the latest data in women’s representation and ranked choice voting next week.Read more
Now that the House has elected a Speaker and the members of Congress have been sworn in, we can turn our attention to the work ahead. Stories from this week show that building women's political power will take more than just seat gains. A 21st century democracy requires system reforms to ensure women can run, win, serve, and lead.Read more
As I am writing this, the House of Representatives is now on their 10th vote for Speaker of the House, with no single candidate receiving a majority yet. In times like this, I am reminded of how much time and energy could be saved if ranked choice voting was used. The members of the House of Representatives cannot be sworn in to office until the Speaker is elected, which is hindering effective running of our democracy.Read more