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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation June 21st, 2024

Dear Readers, 

As the sun reaches its highest point in the sky and the days grow longer, RepresentWomen prepares to welcome one of nature's most enchanting events: the Summer Solstice, marking the official beginning of summer! The Summer Solstice has historically been a significant event for many cultures worldwide. In our modern lives, the Summer Solstice offers a unique opportunity to reconnect with nature and our surroundings. It’s a time to embrace change, set intentions for the coming months, and find joy in the simple pleasures the season provides.

Since we are nearly halfway through 2024, the RepresentWomen team will reflect on our year and what we look forward to this summer. Enjoy a special edition of the Weekend Reading, where we reacquaint you with RepresentWomen staff and introduce you to some new team members!

Alissa Bombardier Shaw, Outreach Manager

I have a jam-packed summer ahead of me this year! I’m excited to attend several conferences, including the League of Women Voters Annual Convention, Netroots Nation, and the National Conference of State Legislators. During the break between conferences, I will travel up the East Coast and to Canada (for the first time!) with my sisters and mom for some much-needed family time. As if I didn’t have enough planned already, I will also be moving in a few weeks, so wish me luck while I’m facing the D.C. humidity!

Arianna Conte, Communications Manager

I’m so excited to join the RepresentWomen team this summer! I look forward to learning more about my new colleagues and supporting them. There is truly nothing quite like summer in Rhode Island!

I look forward to reading on the beach, kayaking, and attending the Newport Folk Festival in July with my friends. 

Courtney Lamendola, Research Director

I’m looking forward to catching up on reading, going to the beach, and spending time with my 🐕 “nephew” Theo this summer. I’ll be back and forth between Boston, Providence, NYC, DC, Scranton, and Southern Delaware, visiting friends and family. I’m most excited to visit with my cousins when they fly in from Germany later this summer - it’s been a few years since they last made the trip out, and it’s always fun to explore new and familiar cities with them! 

Steph Scaglia, Research Manager

My summer months are filled with biking on two-lane roads, reading fiction, and heading to the beach! When I'm home in NYC, I love going to the farmer’s market, walking along the Hudson River, and trying new natural wines. 

On the RepresentWomen front, I’m attending the annual National Conference of State Legislators in Louisville, KY, and the American Political Science Association conference in Philadelphia, PA. Both are great opportunities to connect with others in the field and discuss our work. I also look forward to meeting with the RepresentWomen team for our annual staff retreat.

Marvelous Maeze, Research Associate

My summer plans have been filled with researching RepresentWomen’s new series on Black Women in Politics, visiting galleries, and traveling. I started my summer by enjoying a golf trip with friends in Florida and visiting Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., where I advocated for human rights with the United Nations. My travel itinerary for this summer is truly global, with trips planned across the USA, Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe. Traveling is one of my favorite pastimes. I thrive on adventure, relish in leisure, and treasure creating beautiful memories with my loved ones! ​​🧡🌻🦩🌊 ​​🌞

Rechelle Gutierrez, Research Intern

This summer has already been packed with hikes and day trips to the lake throughout the Gila National Forest. My friends and family love to go fishing and water tubing on our days off and enjoy an adventurous day. Our local lake,  Bill Evans, recently filled with more water and fish! Whenever I have the opportunity to get out of town, I like to travel to California to go to theme parks, the beach, and the movie theatres with my cousins. While interning with RepresentWomen, I’ve been busy collecting and fact-checking data for the 2024 Gender Parity Index. Soon, I’ll start inputting this data into GPI charts and graphs.

Ria Deshmukh, Digital Media Manager

Digital Media Manager Ria Deshmukh (far right) with family at a Graduation Party

I started the summer season by celebrating the achievements of my family's graduates. I will be on a relaxing lake trip this weekend, offering a perfect escape into nature. Then, I'll be heading to Disney World for some magical adventures. I am ending my summer with a trip to Boston for a friend’s wedding. When not traveling, I plan to enjoy serene walks and soak up the warm sun with my dog throughout the summer. 

I’m also promoting RepresentWomen’s two exciting upcoming research reports: “Salaries of State: Modernizing State Legislatures through Compensation Commissions” and the 2024 Gender Parity Index. Additionally, I’ll create engaging video content and work in person at the RepresentWomen office, balancing work and leisure for a fulfilling summer.

Fatma Tawfik, International Research Manager

This summer started with Eid, one of my favorite holidays, especially since I am spending it with my family, whom I haven't seen in over a year. Joining us this summer is my cousin's newborn baby girl, whom I had the honor of witnessing in her first moments in life. For the rest of my summer, I plan to visit as many museums as possible. 


Regarding my work with RepresentWomen, I am super excited about our new series of International election monitoring op-eds and interviews with the Global Advocates of Parity network, plus having a new international report released on an important topic that is mainly not discussed (Not going to say more, but wait for it :) )      

Cynthia Richie Terrell, Executive Director

I am excited for the busy months to come as we do all we can to build women’s power in the lead-up to one of the most consequential elections in our lifetimes while also caring for ourselves and each other.

This last weekend, I made raspberry jam from the berries I harvested before the birds and my dear dog gobbled them up! Over the summer, I plan to make more jam, can tomatoes, pickle beans, and cucumbers and share them with family and friends.

Next week, I will attend the Maryland Municipal League summer conference in Ocean City, Maryland, on behalf of Ranked Choice Voting Maryland. I am excited to entice elected officials into conversations about ranked choice voting with tins of mints, a clever design made by RepresentWomen’s very own Alissa Bombardier Shaw.

I will also be looking for opportunities to organize and attend showings of Majority Rules – a new film about Alaska’s switch to a Final Four voting system that includes open primaries and ranked choice voting that was produced by RepresentWomen partner & funder Unite America under the leadership of democracy champ Nick Troiano. My dear husband, Rob Richie, makes a quick cameo appearance, but the movie's real story is about how the new system enables candidates to appeal to all voters and build support outside of their  base. I attended the world premiere of Majority Rules last Friday along with Senator Lisa Murkowski and Representative Mary Peltola – it was truly amazing to hear them talk about how ranked choice voting changed how they campaigned and govern – it was a remarkable conversation. 

Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty (who first wrote about ranked-choice voting in the Post in 2002), Senator Lisa Murkowski, Representative Mary Peltola, and Majority Rules director AJ Schnack at the opening.

With Alissa Bombardier Shaw, Susannah Wellford, and Rep. Mary Peltola

With Senator Lisa Murkowski

Finally, besides attending the League of Women Voters Summit, a gathering of state legislative modernization advocates, major party conventions, and a slew of other events, I plan to spend time in my garden this summer—reading, weeding, and enjoying whatever is in bloom.

The waterlilies in my small pond are in full swing – my goal for the summer is to introduce some turtles and frogs to my aquatic wonderland.    

With a record-breaking heatwave hitting much of the United States this week, we wondered how you stay safe in the summer heat. Here at RepresentWomen, we want to remind everyone to stay hydrated, limit time outside, wear sunscreen, and stay up-to-date on cooling centers available in your community. Additional tips from the CDC can be found here.  

That's all for this week! Hope you're enjoying the first few days of summer.

-The RepresentWomen Team


Despite a record number of women holding state legislative seats, barriers to women’s ability to serve in office long-term persist. Our upcoming report, “Salaries of State: Modernizing State Legislatures through Compensation Commissions,” tackles this issue and will be released next Monday, June 24th! Look out for “Salaries of State” to learn how compensation commissions can create opportunities for women legislators to effectively and sustainably SERVE


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