Pages tagged "Topic: Women RUN"
In August 2013, RepresentWomen launched the Gender Parity Index (GPI) to help researchers and advocates track progress toward gender-balanced governance and identify opportunities for increasing women’s political representation in the U.S. Each year, we assign all 50 states a Gender Parity Score, letter grade, and ranking according to their proximity to parity. One of the key takeaways from this exercise is that progress toward gender balance is slower and less stable than it first appears.
In the first Gender Parity Index, 40 states earned a “D” grade (< 25.0) or worse (< 10.0); the remaining ten states were split evenly between “Cs” (< 33.0) and “Bs” (< 50.0), and no state achieved an “A” (50.0 and above). Ten years later, Maine and Oregon have both achieved an “A” for the first time, 24 states are split evenly between “Bs” and “Cs,” 23 states have earned a “D,” and Louisiana is the only failing state.
The 2023 Index reflects recent record-breaking progress for women in the U.S. government, particularly state executives. Following the 2022 elections, 12 states have women governors, breaking the previous record of nine. Correspondingly, six of the top ten states in the 2023 GPI have women governors, including Maine (1st), Oregon (2nd), Michigan (3rd), New Mexico (4th), Iowa (7th), and Massachusetts (9th).
While it is true that women’s representation has increased, the 2023 GPI shows that women are still underrepresented at every level of government in the U.S., holding just one-third of all elected positions, despite comprising over 50% of the population. Women of color are further underrepresented, holding approximately one-tenth of all elected positions. This year’s GPI further shows that:
- Record-breaking wins have resulted in incremental gains for women. Headlines that announce record highs for women in politics are often misleading; women remain underrepresented at every level of government. Net gains for women are generally smaller than they appear, slowing progress.
Not every state is on an upward trajectory toward parity; some states, such as New Hampshire and Louisiana, have even lost progress over time.
- New Hampshire ranked first and achieved an “A” between 2015-2018 and again in 2020; it now ranks 10th with a score of 41/100 (grade: B).
- Louisiana ranked 28th in the first GPI with a score of 16/100 (grade: D); it now has a score of 9/100 (grade: F) and ranks 50th in the 2023 GPI.
- Gains for women are concentrated in the Northeast and West Coast, while women’s representation in Midwestern and Southern states lags far behind.
- Democratic women are outpacing Republican women in elected office, suggesting that progress toward parity will eventually slow unless a) more Republican women are elected or b) more Democratic women than men are elected.
- Systemic reform is needed to level the playing field and create more opportunities for women to enter and remain in office. Rather than replace existing candidate-focused strategies, systemic reforms can function in a complementary manner to bring out the best of both strategies.
To quantify progress towards gender parity in elected and appointed office, RepresentWomen developed the Gender Parity Index (GPI). Each year, a Gender Parity Score and grade is calculated for each of the 50 states and for the United States as a whole. The Gender Parity Score reflects women's recent electoral successes at the local, state, and national levels on a scale of 0 (if no women were elected to any offices) to 100 (if women held all elected offices). The key advantage of the GPI is that it enables comparisons to be made over time and among states.
The 2022 Gender Parity Index
As of June 2022, there are 147 (28%) women in Congress: 24 in the Senate and 123 in the House. In 333 statewide elective executive offices, 101 (30%) are either led or co-led by women. Of 7,383 seats in state legislatures, women hold 2,295 (31%). At the local level, 367 (25%) of 1,465 cities are represented by women, and 80 (33%) of the five largest county governments in each state are either led or co-led by women.
And yet, overall progress towards parity is frustratingly incremental in the U.S. In 2022, the average parity score is 24.8. If we round up, this brings us to an average score of 25 out of 100, which means we are halfway to parity. In 2021, the average score was 24.6; two years ago, it was 23.8.
Electing more women to government will strengthen our democracy by making it more representative, improving policy outcomes, encouraging a new style of leadership, and cultivating trust in our elected bodies.
To advance women's representation and leadership in the United States, we must adopt proven policy solutions that address the structural barriers women face as candidates & as elected officials. These institutional strategies are a natural complement to individual candidate training programs.
Gender balanced funding and recruitment targets so more women RUN
Establish or join a Women’s Caucus that oversees the following:
- Developing targets for the recruitment of women candidates.
- Evaluating the best practices to encourage more women to run.
- Preparing an annual report on the status of women's representation in: party leadership, elected offices, and appointed positions.
Support legislation that allows candidates to use campaign funds to pay for childcare expenses.
Ranked choice voting so more women WIN
Upgrade the voting system to use ranked choice voting (also known as instant run-off voting) for both single and multi-winner elections. Maine and Alaska are the only US states who have used RCV in statewide elections - Alaska's first use being in 2022. Maine is ranked second in RepresentWomen’s 2022 Gender Parity Index.
Policy language examples:
Legislative rules changes so more women can SERVE
Modernize the governmental workplace so that all legislators can serve effectively once elected with the following rules changes:
- On-site childcare
- Paid leave for legislators
- Telecommuting Proxy voting
- Family-friendly schedules
- Living wages for legislators
Policy language examples:
Gender balanced appointment targets so more women LEAD
Recruitment for top staff and leadership positions must engage diverse slates of candidates to ensure gender balanced representation.
Adopt rules for gender balanced appointments. Commit to diverse appointments to cabinets, commissions and vacancies, establishing or maintaining gender balance as the norm.
Policy language examples:
RepresentWomen is a nonpartisan, 501c3 non-profit organization committed to strengthening our democracy by advancing reforms that break down barriers to ensure more women can Run, Win, Serve, and Lead. As both candidates and elected officials, women continue to face structural barriers that men simply do not; and these barriers require systemic reforms to level the playing field. "RUN WIN SERVE LEAD: Best Practices for a Gender-Balanced Democracy" highlights the topline findings from our research on the systems-level strategies that accelerate progress toward gender-balanced governance.
RepresentWomen's 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. It's time we dismantle these barriers for women who want to run for office.
Teach others about recruitment targets!
Use our presentation on gender balance rules in the US and around the world to teach your community about the benefits of recruitment targets.
7.2020 Pantsuit Politics "How To Be A Citizen: What's Next?"
In the final installment of the "How To Be A Citizen" series the Pantsuit Politics hosts look at the importance of structural reforms to address structural issues facing the United States. In this episode, they interview RepresentWomen Founder and Executive Director Cynthia Richie Terrell on the history of structural reforms in the U.S. and what we should do going forward.