Posted on Blog on July 02, 2020
There were several key primaries this week with fascinating wins and losses for women candidates along with a number of landmark Supreme Court decisions that will dominate the headlines for weeks to come. In the midst of all this news I was very glad to read the latest report from Sarah Bryner from the Center for Responsive Politics who writes about the likely composition of the 117th Congress. While there have been a number of stories about the number of women running, Sarah's report examines the prospects for these women to actually win. It's so important to remember that the power of incumbency, the challenges of raising money, and our antiquated electoral system fortify the status quo:
Posted on Blog on June 26, 2020
It's been an eventful week in the world of women's representation with some great wins for women candidates in primaries held this week - including RepresentWomen board member Jenifer Rajkumar who will most likely win her primary for the NY state assembly along with ReflectUS ally Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas who maintains her lead as absentee votes are counted according to this story by Ese Olumhense and Christine Chung in The City: Jessica González-Rojas, former executive director of the National Latina Institute, heads the five-way race for the 34th Assembly District in Jackson Heights and Woodside, with 12-year incumbent Michael DenDekker trailing by 16 percentage points. González-Rojas said that while it was too early to claim victory, she hopes the margins will hold as absentee ballots get tallied up by the city Board of Elections. Her campaign had strongly encouraged voters to cast their ballots by mail, she said — adding that she was “shocked” by the Primary Day and early voting turnout of nearly 7,000 people, out of nearly 37,000 active Democrats in the 34th Assembly District.
Posted on Blog on June 19, 2020
On June 19th 1865, Major General Gordon Granger led Union soldiers into Galveston Texas and brought with him the news of the end of the Civil War and the enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation. Two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation and formally ended slavery in the United States, the legal end of slavery was finally upheld across the country. A year following Granger’s proclamation, the anniversary of what had become known as Juneteenth took place for the first time. The Juneteenth celebration which focused on the community of the formerly enslaved peoples in Texas continued to spread and grow over the following years. Widespread celebrations of Juneteenth continued until the early 20th century. Economic downturn coupled with a lack of public education and awareness of the lag between the formal end to slavery and the enforcement of Lincoln’s executive order across the country resulted in decline in the celebrations of Juneteenth.
Posted on Blog on June 12, 2020
There were a number of significant milestones related to women's equality and representation this week including the anniversary of the day that the Equal Pay Act was signed into law in 1963 and the birthdays of many remarkable women including Kathy Spillar, the executive editor of Ms Magazine, former first ladies Martha Washington & Barbara Bush, Ms Foundation CEO Teresa Younger, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Jeannette Rankin who was the 1st woman elected to Congress, in 1916. Like most suffragists, Rankin was a republican and was elected from a multi-seat district in Montana which was then a heavily democratic state. Alarmed by her win, the democrats switched to single winner districts (which disadvantage women candidates) during her term, making it all but impossible for her to win re-election. She did run again and served one more term in the 1940s: she was the only member of Congress to vote against entry into both World Wars. Rankin was a suffragist and an avid supporter of a national popular vote for president and preferential voting - aka Ranked Choice Voting!
Posted on Blog on June 05, 2020
Amidst the news of the continuing pandemic and wide-spread protests of police violence there were some incredible victories for women candidates running for offices at the local, state, and federal levels this week. Jennifer Medina wrote an article in The New York Times about the election of Ella Jones as mayor of Ferguson, MO six years after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown:
Posted on Blog on May 29, 2020
As readers may remember, jurisdictions with ranked choice voting are electing more women to office for both executive and legislative offices than the norm in non-RCV cities. There have been some very successful uses of ranked choice voting this year by both major parties for primaries and party elections but the biggest news is that Massachusetts is well on its way to becoming the 2nd state to adopt RCV. If you care about democracy read this good piece in The Fulcrum about the effort and if you live in Massachusetts please sign the petition:
Posted on Blog on May 22, 2020
There were a lot of terrific articles this week discussing women's representation and leadership including this piece on Forbes by Marianne Schnall that features interviews with a number of prominent women discussing women's leadership: A few weeks ago an evocative meme was making the social media rounds: a picture of the leaders of Germany, New Zealand, Belgium, Finland, Iceland and Denmark with the caption “COVID-19 is everywhere but countries with heads of state managing the crisis better seem to have something in common…” Of course the answer was that they were all women. The narrative is that from Angela Merkel of Germany to Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand to Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan (as well as the leaders of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway), it does appear that countries who have female leaders at the helm are proving to be faring better during the pandemic thanks to their effective handling of the response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Posted on Blog on May 15, 2020
There were a number of great pieces tied to the celebration of Mother's Day which pointed to the contradiction between the Hallmark version of the holiday and the lived experiences of many, if not all, women. I especially loved a piece in The New York Times by Kim Brooks titled "Forget Pancakes. Pay Mothers" which challenges readers to think about the work of raising children and running households in the United States:
Posted on Blog on May 08, 2020
As perhaps some of you heard, a federal judge ruled against equal pay for the championship U.S. women's soccer team this week according to this story by Liz Clarke in The Washington Post: Chants of “Equal pay! Equal pay!” erupted among a crowd of nearly 60,000 in Lyon, France, in July when the U.S. women clinched their fourth World Cup championship with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands. Nearly 10 months later, federal judge R. Gary Klausner, ruling in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Pasadena on Friday, was unpersuaded by the women’s legal case for that demand. Klausner rejected the U.S. women’s soccer team’s argument that it has been underpaid relative to the U.S. men in the gender-discrimination suit filed in March 2019.
Posted on Blog on May 01, 2020
As the general election looms ever closer, concern about the voting process is intensifying. There was a great piece in The Fulcrum this week by LeeAnne Grapes about combining mailed ballots with ranked choice voting to ensure a healthy & safe voting process: Of course, no one could have foreseen a pandemic upending life as we know it. But as the threat of coronavirus became increasingly pressing, the state's Democratic leadership responded by cancelling the in-person caucuses and instead mailing every registered Democrat a ballot that could be dropped off or mailed back.