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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation January 18, 2019


Dear readers,

Each week brings a perplexing quandary for me - there is so, so much to report on about women's international representation and efforts to expand women's representation in the United States but there are also many projects/events/deadlines encroaching on my time that prevent me from doing an adequate job reporting on it all! My time is short again this week but here are a couple highlights!

The New York Times published portraits of 130 of the 131 women serving in the 116th Congress  - there was a nice piece in the Times describing the process and another great piece in Coieter by Bibi Deitz that captures the impact:

In a perfect world, Congress would have way more women and we wouldn’t be applauding the fact that they comprise almost a quarter of the House and Senate. But—baby steps. This term, women comprise close to 25 percent of Congress, which is still not enough, but it’s a good start.

After all, it was only 102 years ago that the first woman was elected to the House of Representatives: Jeannette Rankin of Montana, as the New York Times points out. To commemorate how far we’ve come (and how much farther we need to go), the Times took it upon themselves to photograph 130 of the 131 women elected to Congress this year—and the result is inspiring. (Rep Liz Cheney of Wyoming “was not available” to sit for a portrait.)

The Times’ portraits challenge any pre-existing ideas of what power looks like by placing women of all generations and colors in the spotlight, and letting their dignity and grace shine through. Photographers Elizabeth D. Herman and Celeste Sloman chose to light the women gently, letting their features take the spotlight. In a few portraits, lush yellow or red curtains hang in the background, evoking and redefining President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s official portrait. In all instances, the women’s eyes seem to say: “This is what power looks like.”


Rep Elise Stefanik this week held a kick off event for her EPAC that is dedicated to supporting the election of more republican women to Congress. Stefanik writes on Twitter "Our E-PAC website is now live! Check it out to read all about my mission to elect more  to Congress in 2020 and beyond! Click on the “Want to Run?” tab if you are a Republican woman ready to get off the sidelines." Stay tuned for more on this initiative! 


Four women members of Congress have declared their intention to seek the democratic presidential nomination and others may follow. I have had many conversations with friends, family, and colleagues about the lineup of candidates all of which point directly to the need for a Ranked Choice Voting system in each of the primaries and caucuses - and in the general election - to eliminate split votes among like-minded candidates and like-minded voters. I hope that you will help me to raise this issue with the candidates and the state party officials who have the power to upgrade the selection process in their states to ensure that candidates emerge who have majority support. Find a flyer on Ranked Choice Voting attached and email or call me with any questions about RCV!

There are a number of events that sister organizations are planning, they include:

The always appreciative and empowering Patti Russo writes that the Women's Campaign School at Yale application period is officially launched and will run through April 15th via the website: for their June 17-21 session at Yale Law School.

While the also appreciative and empowering Sharon Nelson writes that her Women's Candidate Training Class at CUNY starts on February 23 and lasts for 12 weeks.
That's all I have time for today my friends!
P.S. Celinda Lake shared with me this great stat from Rep Chellie Pingree (elected with ranked choice voting from Maine) from this week - we are all making history!

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