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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation June 22, 2018


​Democratic nominee for governor of Maine - Janet Mills

Dear all,
As CBS News reports, Maine became the first state to use ranked choice voting for a statewide race this week and elected a woman. Janet Mills, as the democratic nominee. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said the vote went off without a hitch and cost far less to administer than had been threatened during the campaign for the ranked choice voting ballot measure. Voters not only got to vote with a ranked ballot they also voted for it, again, by a comfortable margin. The campaign was marked by civility as displayed by this video!

Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills is the gubernatorial Democratic primary winner under Maine's new ranked-choice voting method, the nation's biggest test of the system, officials announced Wednesday. Mills had the most first-place votes, and her lead held after additional rounds of tabulations under the system that had voters rank candidates from first to last on the ballot. 

The winning result was announced eight days after Maine's primary. Democratic state Rep. Jared Golden, the Assistant House Leader, also won the right to face Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin for Maine's 2nd Congressional District.

Additional tabulations were triggered in both races because no one collected a majority of first-round votes. Because of that, additional voting rounds eliminated last-place finishers. Those voters' second-place selections were reallocated to the remaining field.

Ranked-choice voting became a game of mathematical survival once all of the ballots were shipped to Augusta for processing at a secure location. Ballots and memory sticks from hundreds of towns had to be delivered and scanned into several computers over several days.

In the end, Mills won. When asked about what it would mean to be Maine's first female governor, she said she will run on her "merits and qualifications and ability to get stuff done."

The New York Times reported that New Zealand's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, delivered a daughter this week becoming the first woman head of state to give birth while in office in over three decades:

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand gave birth to her first child, a girl, on Thursday, making her the first world leader in almost three decades to give birth while in office.

Ms. Ardern, who announced the birth on social media, did not say whether a name had been chosen yet.

Ms. Ardern, 37, whose youth and surprise rise to power have made her a global celebrity, delivered her baby at the country’s largest public hospital, in Auckland. Once she entered the hospital on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters officially assumed the role of acting prime minister.

“Welcome to our village wee one,” Ms. Ardern posted on Instagram. “Feeling very lucky to have a healthy baby girl that arrived at 4.45pm weighing 3.31kg (7.3lb),” she wrote. “Thank you so much for your best wishes and your kindness.”

An article in The Tribune reported on a new study published in Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation tracking the correlation between women's representation and the reduction of corruption in government:

Corruption is lower in governments where a greater share of parliamentarians are women, say scientists—including those of Indian origin—who analysed data from over 125 countries.

 The study, published in the Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation, also found that women's representation in local politics is important too—the likelihood of having to bribe is lower in regions with a greater representation of women in local-level politics in Europe.

"This research underscores the importance of women empowerment, their presence in leadership roles and their representation in government, said Sudipta Sarangi, an economics professor at Virginia Tech in the US.

"This is especially important in light of the fact that women remain under represented in politics in most countries," said Sarangi.

The researchers, including Chandan Jha of Le Moyne College in the US, speculate that women policymakers are able to have an impact on corruption because they choose different policies from men.

An extensive body of prior research shows that women politicians choose policies that are more closely related to the welfare of women, children, and family.

The relationship is robust to the inclusion of a number of other control variables including economic, cultural, and institutional factors.

The study also uses a statistical technique, known as the Instrumental Variable analysis, to account for the confounding factors and to establish causality in the relationship.

After all it is possible that it is corruption that drives women's participation in politics and not the other way around.

Researchers maintain that while the gender-corruption relationship has been studied before, the previous studies suffered from the critique that the relationship between women's representation in government and corruption was not shown to be causal.

The research is the most comprehensive study on this topic and looks at the implications of the presence of women in other occupations as including the shares of women in the labour force, clerical positions, and decision-making positions such as the CEOs and other managerial positions.

The study finds that women's presence in these occupations is not significantly associated with corruption, suggesting that it is the policymaking role through which women are able to have an impact on corruption.

Sometimes it is believed that the relationship between gender and corruption may disappear as women gain similarity in social status.

This is presumably because as the status of women improves, they get access to the networks of corruption and at the same time learn the know-how of engaging in corrupt activities.

The results of this study, however, indicate otherwise: the relationship between women's representation in parliament and corruption is stronger for countries where women enjoy a greater equality of status. PTI

There was a fun article in Swiss Info about new law passed by parliament calling for gender quotas in boardrooms of large publicly traded companies though enforcement mechanisms are yet to be developed:

The Swiss parliament has voted for gender quotas in the boardrooms of large publicly-traded companies. They have between five and ten years to make the changes.

The vote in the House of Representatives, led by Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga, was tense and tight: in the end, Thursday’s result was swung by just a single vote (95 for, 94 against, three abstentions).

And if the result may be more symbolic than concrete – no sanctions are attached to non-adherence, rather an injunction to “explain” any failure to comply – the mere mention of the word “quota” represents a leap forward, Sommaruga told Swiss public broadcaster, RTS.

The decision will affect the largest publicly-traded companies in the country, potentially some 250 businesses. They must ensure that 30% of the Board of Directors and 20% of the Executive Board is female, over the next five and ten years respectively.

Currently, said Sommaruga, the corresponding figures are stuck at 10% and 20%.

The issue led to long debates, heated interventions, and even an impromptu poetry recital (by Andrea Gmür-Schönenberger, a Christian Democrat in favour of the regulation) in the chamber on Thursday afternoon.

The conservative-right Swiss People’s Party were against the proposal, and said that they would vote against the entire package of business reform legislation within which the quotas are contained.

The centre-right Radical-Liberal party was also against the proposal, mainly for reasons of free-market integrity and the “insult” implied by “reducing woman to quotas”, in the words of one of its members.

Discussions around the finer details of the quotas and the business reform package will continue in the House on Friday.

The RepresentWomen team had the great honor of meeting Liberian congresswoman Rosana Schaack this week who had amazing stories to tell about running for office in her country and her work for gender quotas!
RepresentWomen interns are writing great blogs, creating terrific graphics, and delving into data relating to PAC spending on female candidates & women in judicial offices in the US - stay tuned for updates on their work!
Here are some sample graphics about states with primaries this Tuesday and profiles of LGBQ electeds!
Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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