By Cynthia Richie Terrell on April 26, 2019
Jane Castor made history Tuesday, becoming the first openly LGBTQ mayor elected to lead Tampa, Florida.
According to the Victory Institute's Out for America database, which tracks LGBTQ representation among elected officials, just 0.13% of elected officials nationwide identify as LGBTQ. That's compared to about 4.5% of U.S. adults in 2017, according to a Gallup poll.
As Ellen McGirt of Fortune said, "...She the People is changing politics." This movement is happening.
And we're just getting started. Our next step is to travel to swing states holding She the People Town Halls beginning in Virginia on May 18. We are excited about what’s ahead and we can’t do it without you. Join our Champion Circle today by signing up for a monthly recurring donation. A gift of any size helps us elevate our voice in the media and highlight our organizing and leadership right up until election day.
But when it comes to fundraising -- which, like it or not, is often synonymous with a candidate's viability in our current political system -- female candidates have historically struggled to raise as much money as men.
While the 2018 midterms showed us that the tide may be beginning to turn in terms of women's fundraising efforts, we must be aware of the challenges women still face when raising money -- and what we can do to make the presidential playing field as even as possible.
This month’s observance of the genocide that killed almost a million focused, as it should have, on those who lost their lives in the carnage. But few know of the pioneering role of Rwanda’s women, who stepped forward into an unimaginable crisis, then drove a sustained recovery that has set an example for the world.
The nation’s transformation has come through women’s leadership, which is obvious in the highest ranks of the judiciary, as well as many of the most important departments of the executive branch. The support of President Paul Kagame and his influential wife, Jeannette, has been essential. But it’s clear from the women with whom we’ve talked that the Kagame involvement does not stand alone.
Women now hold 61 percent of the seats in Parliament — according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union — by far the largest proportion in the world. That feat is the result of their conscious campaign to open paths for themselves and their sisters to take positions of authority, from village councils to provincial governments, and on up to the highest legislative body. The 2003 constitution requires that women hold at least 30 percent of seats in all government structures. But in most fields they have far outstripped that quota, and they have made sure that there is a pipeline of emerging female political figures....
This has translated into women achieving 88 percent participation in the Rwandan labor force, the same percentage as men; that puts Rwanda at number one in the World Economic Forum ranking for gender equality in the workplace. Overall, Rwanda ranks sixth in the forum’s global gender-gap score, which measures education, health, economic, and political empowerment. Those are among the strongest figures anywhere, whether in Africa or the developed world.
Lawmakers are pushing Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other legislators to pass legislation setting gender and race requirement for public corporations.
The bill would require all publicly-traded companies headquartered in Illinois to have at least one African American and one person who identifies as a woman on their boards or face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for each day they’re out of compliance.
A year after the Houston Bar Association revised its Gender Fairness Commitment Statement, 60 firms in Houston have signed the statement, which asks firms to take “concrete action” by 2020 to materially increase the number of women partners and women firm leaders.
HBA President Warren Harris, a partner at Bracewell, said he is excited that so many firms have committed to the objectives. He said the Gender Fairness Committee will reach out to firms in early 2020 to see what steps they have taken to increase gender equity in partnership and leadership.
“There’s certainly more work that needs to be done. We are glad the firms are supporting these issues,” Harris said...
According to the 2018 National Association of Women Lawyers Survey on Promotion and Retention of Women in Law Firms, 20% of equity partners in big U.S. firms are women. That showed an increase of just one percentage point since 2017. The survey includes responses from 97 Am Law 200 firms.
Harris, whose firm has signed the statement, said those numbers need to change.
“We need to all get on board. It’s something we have to make happen. It’s time,” he said.
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