Posted on Blog on January 22, 2021
This week's inauguration of a new administration was at once a testimony to the power of our democratic traditions and an embrace of new voices & diverse leadership. According to this piece by columnist Monica Hesse in The Washington Post, American democracy has finally passed the Bechdel test with Justice Sonia Sotomayer swearing in our nation's first woman vice president, Kamala Harris: The promise of a Joe Biden presidency was a return to normalcy, but 62 seconds of Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony were quietly revolutionary. Not the soar of Amanda Gorman’s poem, or the thunderous power of Lady Gaga using a golden microphone to belt the national anthem. In a ceremony filled with artistic creations specifically designed to arouse emotions of patriotism and pride, the 62 seconds that did so most effectively were from a bland, scripted oath of office, administered with the same exchange of words for more than a hundred years. But never between two women.
Posted on Blog on January 15, 2021
Next week, Kamala Harris will become the first woman in our nation's history to take the oath of office to serve as vice president of these United States. The leadership team that she and president-elect Joe Biden have assembled is the most diverse in history. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate the new cabinet will be majority people of color and gender balanced, according to this story on CNN.com: President-elect Joe Biden on Friday introduced key nominees for his economic and jobs team, including Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo for commerce secretary and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for labor secretary. The two picks mark the completion of Biden's announcements for his Cabinet secretary nominees, and come less than two weeks from the President-elect's inauguration.
Posted on Blog on January 08, 2021
While we don't yet know the short-term consequences of Wednesday's rampage on the Capitol we do know a few things: women Senate staffers had the presence of mind to grab the mahogany boxes containing certified presidential results from the states & carry them to safety, the police and others assigned to protect our elected representatives & our democratic process failed to do so, and the polarization caused by our winner take all politics is dangerous. Individuals must be held accountable for their actions, but we must also redesign the institutions that drive the animus that has become commonplace and reached an apex on Wednesday. Individuals elected in single member districts with plurality winner rules have very few incentive to work with fellow lawmakers to reach policy outcomes that benefit the majority of voters. And the winner take all rules in these single winner districts make nearly all Congressional districts safe for one party and for the incumbents who hold those seats. Events from this week are a stunning reminder that we must build institutions that represent the people they serve.
Posted on Blog on December 30, 2020
Today marks the 70th anniversary of my parents' wedding in the same Quaker meetinghouse where my grandparents & great grandparents were married and where I was married half a century later...the title for the news clipping from The Washington Post sums up the era - "Philadelphia Girl, Huntington Terrell To Wed" - fortunately, we have made a lot of progress toward women's equality over the last seventy years but there is still work to be done....
Posted on Blog on December 24, 2020
As I look back on 2020 I am mindful of the many challenges we faced as individuals, families, communities, Americans. and global citizens. We will remember those challenges but we will also remember 2020 as the year we celebrated the centennial of suffrage, the year we elected the first woman & woman of color to the vice presidency, and the year we sowed new seeds of progress toward gender balance in politics.
Posted on Blog on December 18, 2020
We collaborated with partners in the democracy reform and women's representation movement, with campaigns for voting system reform, with the ReflectUS Coalition, and with state groups around the country. Here is a testimonial from Jen Simon at the Wyoming Women's Action Network: Right now, I am working with several partners in Wyoming on two policy briefs--one about women's representation and one about women's economic impact in Wyoming--and I would be unable to complete this work without RepresentWomen's research and materials. And it is not just in my policy work that your research is indispensable. I use it with Cowgirl Run Fund--Wyoming's first PAC dedicated to electing more women from across the political spectrum--as well as refer to it in media interviews on a regular basis. I use it in my Equity State column in the Jackson Hole News&Guide. I use it for essays and policy briefs for the Wyoming Women's Action Network. I truly cannot imagine trying to work in a gender justice policy space without the groundwork that you and your team provide.
Posted on Blog on December 14, 2020
Giving money to politics has not been a regular part of women’s political repertoire. This means that women may have a reduced ability to elect the candidates of their choice and that they are less likely to see their views represented in public policy. Gender as a category, in interaction with race and class, has structured opportunities for educational attainment, access to occupation and income, and family responsibilities throughout U.S. history. On average, women earn less and are less wealthy than men. As a result, women lag behind men in the personal resources that can fuel their political participation.3 Resource disparities are particularly acute for women of color, who are usually disadvantaged by their location at the intersection of gender, race, and class inequalities.
Posted on Blog on December 04, 2020
Melinda Gates, who has demonstrated her dedication to advancing women's representation & leadership by funding the Equality Can't Wait Challenge, has written a powerful Op-Ed in The Washington Post calling on president-elect Biden to "make caregiving a presidential priority" because inequities that women are facing pre-date the pandemic and will continue unless intentional action is taken to address them: The coronavirus has laid bare what was painfully clear to many families already: The caregiving system in the United States is broken, and it is women who are paying the price. Even before the pandemic began, child-care and long-term care solutions were often unaffordable and inaccessible, and women were filling the gaps at tremendous cost to their own economic potential.
Posted on Blog on November 27, 2020
I am grateful for the work that you are doing to advance women's representation and for the chance to work with the small but mighty team at RepresentWomen. I know that there are many important causes to support this holiday giving season but I do hope that you will consider a donation to support our research and advocacy to elect more women to office faster! We have lots of fun plans for 2021 - here is a sample of our 2020 projects:
Posted on Blog on November 20, 2020
Five years ago, to the day, I started publishing this blog with the goal of amplifying the great work that all of you are doing to advance women's representation and leadership in the United States. Along the way I had the great fortune to meet and share the stories of women's representation advocates from Europe - on a terrific trip to Brussels organized by Brenda Choresi Carter; democracy activists in India & Nepal - via a partnership with the U.S. State Department; and parliamentarians from around the world who gathered for the Inter-Parliamentary Union Summit in Serbia last fall. Each week I try to include timely news about women's representation in the United States, articles about efforts to increase women's representation around the world via institutional strategies like gender quotas & proportional voting systems, the latest research on women's representation & leadership, and events that may be of interest. As always, please send me anything you would like included in the months and years to come.