By Cynthia Richie on February 17, 2017
Hold onto your hats my friends, the United States now ranks 104th in women's representation among nations - dropping in just the last few weeks from 100th place. The US now ranks directly behind Madagascar, Kyrgyzstan, and Bulgaria - tied for 101. I hope you will join me in the coming months to look rigorously at what is happening in the higher ranked countries and see which of their rules and practices we can embrace. I think it's fair to say that we cannot afford to leave any stone unturned in our quest for equality.
While I accept that there are lots of factors at play in those other countries I think we must learn from our sisters and brothers around the world - and ask questions: what are they doing that is working? how have they enforced their rules? how are their campaigns run? how has the governing process been impacted by having more women in office?
I am thrilled to work with many allies who are doing terrific work to encourage, enable, prepare, train and support women in the political process. In turn I hope that you will help to spread the word that additional, complementary, strategies are needed to:
- challenge PACS, political parties, and donors to set gender targets so more women run
- adopt fair representation voting systems so more women win
embrace gender-fair legislative rules so that more women can serve and lead
I was startled and charmed to find this piece in The National Review on the courageous and creative mandatory gender quotas now required by HP - here is the article on the decision and the full memo. I think this might be the most remarkable story I have seen this year! Related is the fabulous work being done by EDGE challenging corporations to appoint gender balanced boards.
April 2, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the day women's representation began in Congress. While elected in the fall of 1916, Jeannette Rankin (R-MT) did not take her seat until April 2, 1917 - the very same day that President Woodrow Wilson "addressed a joint session of Congress and urged a declaration of war against Germany."
Please share our Countdown to the Centennial of Women's Representation graphic on social media - it's been 100 years - it's time for parity.
Jeannette Hinkle wrote a nice piece in Wicked Local North of Boston on efforts to recruit more women to run by both republican and democratic organizations -
According to Center for American Women and Politics, women hold 19.4 percent of U.S. Congressional seats, 21 percent of U.S. Senate seats and 19.1 percent of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2017.
At the state level, CAWP reports that women hold 23.7 percent of statewide elective executive offices, 24.8 percent of state legislative offices and 22.4 percent of state senate seats.
This piece in Marie Claire by Jill Filipovic reflects the huge uptick in women declaring their ambition to run for office since the 2016 election - fantastic news. For there to be a giant uptick in the number of women serving in office, however, we need to embrace the rules and systems changes outlined above that will help turn this passion for service into a reality.
The fabulous Erin Loos Cutraro from She Should Run drew my attention to this post on Huffington Post by Alana Vagianos about the Put Her On The Map project that debuted at 2017 MAKERS Conference. Which of course reminded my of my here-to-fore unsuccessful efforts to get an airport in the US named Eleanor Roosevelt Airport - ERA - really a bottom of the barrel priority but good to press forward on many fronts - I think?!
P.S. Bustle had a great piece 16 Books From the Past Decade That Every Woman Needs to Read - including Adichie, one of my fav authors - I can vouch for a few of these but the rest look interesting - happy reading!
And of course happy birthday to passionate suffragists Frederick Douglass and Susan B Anthony!