By Cynthia Richie Terrell on February 25, 2022
Sitting in a park in Paris, France
Reading the news and it sure looks bad
They won't give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had...
Iceland is the country of peace, and Iceland is the world champion of women in leadership.
WPL as the global non-partisan network of women politicians appeals to you as the leaders of Iceland to immediately offer an invitation to the President of Russia and the President of the United States to come to Reykjavík and meet in the emblematic Hofdi House, to stabilize world peace.
WPL believes that Iceland as a country led by women as Prime Minister and as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense, is the country that can make the difference as it did in Reykjavík in 1986 when the Presidents of the Soviet Union and the US, Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan, met there to end the Cold War.
Such a dialogue is now needed more than ever.
WPL asks you to once again facilitate steps for world peace. It is urgent in this time.
Members of the U.S. women’s national team reached a settlement with the U.S. Soccer Federation on Tuesday that will guarantee equal pay with the men’s team and offer players millions in back pay, ending a six-year fight in a gender discrimination case that resonated through American sports and beyond.
The $24 million settlement, $22 million of which will go to the players behind the suit, was effectively an admission that U.S. Soccer had not paid its women’s team equally. It won praise from prominent figures — including President Biden, who called the case a “long overdue victory in the fight for equal pay” in a tweet Tuesday.
“This is going to be one of those incredible moments that we look back on and say the game changed forever, U.S. Soccer changed forever, and the landscape of soccer in this country and in the world changed forever because of this,” said Megan Rapinoe, one of the players who led the suit.
Mary Ann Sieghart, a British journalist and author, says she has had the idea for her recently published book,The Authority Gap: Why women are still taken less seriously than men, and what we can do about it, her whole life. The book is about “the extent to which we’re still more reluctant to accord authority to women than to men,” she said, a challenge she encountered as a political and business journalist. Many women will find familiar the symptoms of the authority gap Sieghart describes: being dismissed or talked over in meetings, being assumed to be more junior even as similarly aged male colleagues are seen as more senior, or having to prove competence in roles, whereas men’s competence is already assumed.
When Sieghart won a visiting fellowship at All Souls College at University of Oxford four years ago, the authority gap was a natural topic for her research project. She spent a year studying the existence of the authority gap and interviewing a number of high-powered women in politics, law and business. “My view was that if even former presidents and prime ministers and Supreme Court justices have experienced the authority gap, that's pretty good proof that the rest of womankind has,” she said in an interview. The interviews included those with Hillary Clinton, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Still, Sieghart felt she had to prove herself in the male-dominated worlds of business and political journalism first, before she could write a book like this. Her prior accomplishments “meant that I had earned my authority among men,” she said. “And that meant that when I came to write this sort of book, they would feel obliged at least to take it seriously.”
During the past few years, the philanthropic world has come to expect headlines about MacKenzie Scott and Melinda French Gates. But the barrage of news about these two women obscures a larger story: how their bold and personal approaches are remaking philanthropy.
While both have publicly committed through the Giving Pledge to donate most of their wealth during their lifetimes, their styles of giving mark out opposite ends of a new kind of philanthropic continuum. This continuum — what we call the MacKenzie-Melinda Scale — has the potential to realign the philanthropy world and its $1 trillion in assets.
On one end of this new scale, MacKenzie Scott avoids the spotlight to make no-strings-attached donations, and she does so without the assistance of a formal foundation or philanthropic infrastructure. She’s even stopped announcing how much she’s giving away in favor of focusing attention on the organizations she supports.
On her blog, she pushes back against society’s restrictive definitions of philanthropy and philanthropists, saying what matters is “intention and effort” — not the number of zeroes.
On the other end, Melinda French Gates stands up as a public voice and a vocal advocate for gender equality. She organizes data-driven giving through a well-developed and well-staffed limited-liability corporation called Pivotal Ventures that builds multi year commitments and partnerships with grantees. Even within this structure, however, “it’s equally important to place trust in the people and organizations we partner with and let them define success on their own terms,” she writes in her recently updated Giving Pledge letter. “Philanthropists are generally more helpful to the world when we’re standing behind a movement rather than trying to lead our own.”
New Gallup polling data shows 7.1 percent of the U.S. population identifies as LGBTQ – up from 5.6 percent in 2020. The new data, released yesterday, further reveals the enormous gap in LGBTQ elected representation in the U.S., where just 0.2 percent of elected positions are held by LGBTQ people. Currently, there are only 1,021 LGBTQ elected officials serving nationwide. To achieve equitable representation, voters need to elect 35,876 more LGBTQ people to public office.
Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute, released the following statement about the new data:
“It is encouraging to see the number of out LGBTQ people continue to grow and that a historic number of young people feel safe and confident to be open about their sexual orientation and gender identity. While this is a momentous time for our community, we still have a long way to go to gain equitable inclusion and representation in politics. LGBTQ people have historically been disenfranchised from government positions and this new data reveals the need to continue building momentum behind the Rainbow Wave until we achieve parity. Equitable representation cannot simply be an aspiration, it must be a reality. Our rights depend on it.”
A woman leads singing during a demonstration in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt. The group demanded the overthrow of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. (Monique Jaques / Corbis via Getty Images)
After independence, some Arab states granted women the right to vote and run for office. In other Arab states, women had to fight harder and longer to receive the most fundamental political right: speech. In the not-so-distant past, women gained their hard-won suffrage in some Arab states, such as the United Arab Emirates in 2006 and Saudi Arabia in 2011.
When the Arab Spring revolutions encouraged many countries to seek political reform at large, with some succeeding in changing political norms and removing their authoritarian rulers, women were most affected by these political changes.
There has been a long history of silencing Arab women‘s political speech, but today this changes.
At one point, Matteo Salvini, the leader of the Lega, proposed that the center right-coalition should “nominate a clever woman.” This was met with scorn as a patronizing statement. Why assume that any female nominee to the presidency would not be clever? Eventually, Salvini did in fact nominate Maria Elisabetta Casellati, the Senate speaker, but with less than 400 votes she could not be considered eligible.
There were other women tipped for the job. The current Justice Minister Marta Cartabia, the former Justice Minister Paola Severino, and former Milan mayor Letizia Moratti. On the list of possible candidates were also Liliana Segre, a much respected Holocoust survivor who was named senator for life in 2018, and Emma Bonino, a current senator and leader of the small liberal party +Europe. None of these women even made it to the roster.
As Vice President Kamala Harris famously said, “The status of women is the status of democracy.” A recent essay in Foreign Affairs underscores that “the 21st [century] is demonstrating that misogyny and authoritarianism are not just common comorbidities but mutually reinforcing ills.” Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that the United States, which now sits at a stunning 72nd in the global ranking of political gender parity, is not even considered a “full democracy” by the Economist Intelligence’s Democracy Index 2021.
Extreme political and cultural polarization puts our “functioning of government” score at an all-time low, placing the U.S. below countries that have even experienced multiple military coups. The January 6th riot on the Capitol, unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud, the politicization of a public health crisis, gerrymandering … all have contributed to a real and felt decline in the quality and effectiveness of our democracy. The United States, one of the world’s oldest democracies, is now seeing a rise of antidemocratic views, not only among citizens, but squarely within its established political parties.
But never fear. We come bearing good news. There is hope. And that hope, we believe, is the shared power and potential of mobilized women to forge a new movement for a 21st century democracy. A movement guided by passion and participation. A movement designed to propel a virtuous circle of reinforcing cultural and institutional advancements, where true representation becomes a reality in our lifetimes. A movement that, as history shows, is destined for lasting success because it is envisioned and fueled by women and people of color.