Skip navigation

Weekend Reading on Women's Representation January 13, 2017


The Representation2020 team gather with Frances Perkins' grandson under her portrait in the office of the current Secretary of Labor!

My dear friends,
Susannah Wellford had yet another terrific piece in US News and World Report this week on the topic of how to deepen and broaden the movement for women's representation - this is an important challenge for all of us to embrace.

The Bay Area Reporter wrote an in-depth piece on the IGNITE event last week with U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios - looks like it was a terrific event!

Listen to WBUR's great interview with Andrea Dew Steele from Emerge America about the surge in women running for office after the November 2016 elections.

The NPR station in Austin, TX ran a story on the demographics of the Texas state legislature - still overwhelmingly male, white and middle-aged:

White lawmakers make up almost two-thirds of the Legislature, but only 43 percent of the state population is white. Men make up half of the state’s population but hold almost 80 percent of the Legislature's seats. Just about any way you slice the numbers, the makeup of the Legislature is at odds with the state.

Pippa Norris shared this chart that shows women's representation in current and previous presidential cabinet appointments:


The Council on Foreign Relations weighed in on the status of women with "Women Around the World: Year in Review" by Rachel Vogelstein.

This legislation from 2010 popped up on my Google Alerts - another great example of why we need to change systems and rules to assure equality. If we can have restroom gender parity legislation I think it's high time for representation gender parity legislation - stay tuned for an announcement about just such legislation that is brewing in Congress!

The effectiveness of gender quotas is praised in this piece from the Scotland Herald by Dr Kenny a professor at the University of Edinburgh:

Quotas are not unfair or discriminatory; they are a means by which fairness and equality can be achieved. Several studies have found that quotas improve the overall quality of candidates and elected representatives. In Sweden, for example, research has found that the use of gender quotas on party lists has resulted in the selection of more, not fewer, qualified political candidates. Rather than oust competent men in favour of mediocre women, parties have replaced mediocre men with highly qualified women, raising the calibre of candidates overall. Quotas expand the talent pool for political office and ensure that the “best and brightest” are selected and elected.

Enough is enough, then, of these tired arguments. Quotas do not undermine merit; they enhance it. It is time for politicians to follow the evidence and show leadership. Warm words must be backed up by tough action to embed equality in our political institutions. The time is now.

Finally, it was a great boost to Representation2020's work for gender parity to have four students from my alma mater - Swarthmore College - for the week. They researched the best state for parity on Rep2020's Gender Parity Index - New Hampshire, the worst state for parity - Pennsylvania, the most improved state - Nevada, and the state with the biggest decline - Maryland.

Here they are pictured with Heidi Hartmann - the brilliant economist who runs the Institute for Women's Policy Research!


The students even made several short videos about Swarthmore alum Alice Paul which you can find (and like) on Rep2020's FB page and Twitter feed!
May this Martin Luther King Jr weekend remind us of our humanity and the vast potential for peaceful and powerful social change.


P.S. It was Alice Paul's 132nd birthday on January 11th.


Continue Reading

Read More