Weekend Reading on Women's Representation June 14, 2019

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on June 14, 2019

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(Calling for change: A rally for gender equality on International Women's Day in Kiev, Ukraine)
Dear sisters,
I am out of time and energy this Friday evening so I will just share a few stories this week.
This headline from the World Economic Forum article "There isn't a single country on track to make the UN's targets for gender equality" offers a challenge to all of us to re-double our efforts, consider new strategies, and demand an end to the status quo:

There isn’t a country in the world that’s currently set to achieve gender equality by the UN’s target of 2030.

Not a single nation is doing enough to improve the lives of women and girls – one of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), which countries have pledged to meet by 2030 – according to the first index created to track progress towards the goal.

The SDG Gender Index finds huge strides still need to be made, with nowhere in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, or Latin America and the Caribbean scoring a ‘good’ rating.

Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and one of the partners behind Equal Measures 2030, which created the index, said the results should “serve as a wake-up call to the world”.
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Swanee Hunt had a terrific piece about the impact of women's leadership on CNN.com:
 
The Nevada legislature, which concluded its biennial session on Monday, is making history — and not just statistically. At 52%, this state house is the first to become majority female, and what a difference that is proving to make, particularly when it comes to women's reproductive rights...
 
The gender diversity in this year's race builds on Hillary Clinton's run four years ago. Her candidacy and triumphant popular vote win did shatter the glass ceiling but certainly not in the way most anticipated. In her campaign, our collective conscious expanded until we all expected to see a female commander in chief (whether we hated the idea or not). It turns out, the ceiling was in our heads, and the surge of women in politics (admittedly aided and abetted by a misogynist in chief), has shaken the foundation of American culture.
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: U.S. women's soccer team players celebrate during their record-breaking 13-0 win over Thailand on Tuesday. | Marcio Machado/Getty Images
The team at Women Rule once again have a fabulous rundown of all the news from this week including a report on the dialogue at the Running Start event on moms running for office and the U.S. women's soccer team 13-0 win against Thailand:

The record number of women in Congress has translated to a record number of moms in office. Today a fifth of the women in Congress have children under 18. Is this actually changing American lawmaking at the highest level?

Running Start, a nonprofit that trains young women to run for office, hosted a panel on “Moms in the House” on Tuesday, with Connecticut Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes and former Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who both entered Congress with young kids. The two said the changes are real, and affect everything from the Congressional schedule to campaigning to which bills get attention.

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Every week seems to bring Ranked Choice Voting news - this week the NYC Charter Revision Commission voted to put RCV on the November ballot for use in primaries and special elections which is a testament to the decades of work by my dear husband and many others to prime the pump for this decision. A little know fact is that NYC has a rich history of using Ranked Choice Voting in the 1900s - and the Hallett Nature Sanctuary at the base of Central Park - across from the Plaza is named for my husband's great uncle who led the voting system reform movement in NYC a hundred years ago.
Six states will be using RCV for their caucuses next year and terrific stories like this one are raising the value of RCV in the presidential election. Sign up to participate in FairVote's Week of Action on RCV June 24th-30th here!
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IndieWire had this piece on the increasing diversity on the Academy of Motion Picture board of governors - a topic of special interest because I was just hanging out in their board room last week:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has elected its 2019-20 Board of Governors. And it’s more diverse than ever before. These are the folks, for better or worse, who steer the Academy ship. When they assume their posts July 1, the number of women Academy governors will increase from 22 to 24, and people of color will grow from 10 to 11, including the already announced three new Governors-at-Large: DeVon Franklin, Rodrigo Garcia, and Janet Yang.

Among the 54 governors — three for each of 17 branches, serving three years — voluntarily leaving their board seats are Sharen Davis, Leonard Engelman, and Daniel Fellman, while terming out are president John Bailey, Robin Swicord, and John Bloom.

Among the finalists vying for board slots, actress Laura Dern beat out Tim Matheson and Rita Wilson, writer Eric Roth outpaced John Ridley, director Steven Spielberg overcame rivals Reginald Hudlin and Michael Mann, Oscar producer Donna Gigliotti outranked Sony executives Tom Rothman and Michael Barker, veteran producer Mark Johnson returned over challenger Jason Blum and Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter prevailed over Judianna Makovsky.

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Finally, I thought this column by Alexandra Petri was so good I am going to copy and paste the whole thing:

The 2020 election is lurching toward us like a malfunctioning robot, and I think we must ask ourselves: Can we risk nominating a man for president?

Men selected as major-party nominees for president have failed to win the popular vote 50 percent of the time. Contrast that to the 100 percent of the time that a female nominee for president has won the popular vote.

More importantly, are Americans ready to withstand another four years of male presidency? It is unpleasant to traffic in stereotypes, and many men are in no way like this, but recent experience teaches that for usually 31 days a month (sometimes 30, occasionally 28), a male president will fall victim to irritability and irrationality that causes him to embarrass the nation abroad and make emotional decisions not based on math or information. It is good he thinks he is capable, and dreaming big is, of course, to be encouraged for all children! But we must not avert our gaze from the results.

We must think of the average voter. It is not fair, but we must do it! It is all very well, in an ideal world, to say men should be allowed to govern without having to battle against the ugly stereotypes of the man in the minds of voters — voters who, when they see who has been nominated, will only see their third-most-cherished uncle, or a science teacher who tried too hard to be friends with his students, or the source of a cruel and misspelled message on a dating app, or the creative team behind “Game of Thrones.” The voice of such a person, reminiscent as it is of being talked over during a meeting, will seem grating and unpleasant to the ear — somehow too loud and too soft and too high and too low at the same time. And men’s documented need for offices the temperature of a Siberian meat locker will make them seem weak and vulnerable abroad.

Male presidential candidates are noted for their inexplicable and sudden desires to do irrational things, such as assassinate Alexander Hamilton, create the Bull Moose Party or be John Edwards. And once they’re in office, this behavior continues. Sometimes, for no reason, a man will decide to throw himself a Teapot Dome Scandal or a Bay of Pigs, or decide to do things to the Philippines that we have yet to adequately reckon with as a country.

Not all men are Jacksons or McKinleys or even the fellows responsible for keeping Jackson’s loathsome visage on our twenties. But having to battle the presumption that they are will waste voters’ energy — energy better spent being genuinely excited by a candidate!

No, we cannot risk this again. There is just too much at stake to risk nominating the sort of person who, time and time again, has proved unable even to serve in a state legislature without becoming helplessly derailed by the desire to regulate a stranger’s uterus.

Of course, not all men fall into these broad categories! Some men are just weird about having one-on-one dinners with powerful women such as Angela Merkel or Theresa May, which will make it difficult for America to further its interests. Some men are the BTK Killer, whereas other men are only probably the Zodiac Killer.

But this election is too important for such experiments. When Americans look to the person in charge of their government, they should not just think of everything in the past that has gone wrong. There will be another time to attempt the noble trial of seeing whether this country can handle a 45th man as president, after Grover Cleveland twice and — Warren G. Harding! I mean, honestly, Warren G. Harding!

Men have had their chance. Let us not risk four more years of this. After the past 230, we have been warned.

Have a glorious weekend!
Cynthia
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