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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation June 28th, 2024

Dear Readers,

Our commitment to building women’s political power continues as we find sustainable solutions to systemic challenges. This week, we published Salaries of State: Modernizing State Legislatures through Compensation Commissions, a report examining the role of compensation commissions in managing legislative pay.

Women across the nation report salary as a key consideration when deciding to run or remain in office. Establishing a compensation commission at the local level is the most viable way to ensure fair pay for state legislators, facilitate a diverse political environment, and remove systemic barriers women legislators face.  

The report focuses on four key metrics: 

  • State legislator compensation impacts who serves in office and how long. 
  • Higher compensation levels for elected officials create more opportunities for women to run and stay in office. 
  • Commission power and authority are pivotal in determining effectiveness. 
  • Educating voters directly is critical to establishing and sustaining a commission.

At the start of the week I was super excited to be in Ocean City, MD at the Maryland Municipal League’s summer conference where I had the opportunity to represent Ranked Choice Voting Maryland. It was great to speak with local elected officials along with town administrators and their staff on the benefits of modernizing election systems through implementing ranked choice voting!

Racist Graffiti on Angela Alsobrooks’ Campaign Sign Is a Reminder of the Threats Black Women in Politics Face

Earlier this month, U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Angela Alsobrooks campaign signs were defaced with hateful, threatening, and racist messages. This attack is reflective of the growing hostility about half of local elected leaders face in their time in public service, research documented by CivicPulse

Women, and in particular Black women, face even more serious threats when seeking or serving in elected or appointed political office. RepresentWomen’s CEO and founder Cynthia Richie Terrell and Research Associate Marvelous Maeze share

At RepresentWomen, we are committed to uncovering the obstacles faced by Black women in politics through assiduously researching how system reforms can result in solutions to increase their representation in government. Our 2024 brief, “Breaking Barriers for Black Women in Politics,” showcased the hurdles Black women are forced to contend with, such as biases, misogyny and flawed political practices. We proposed early investments by political parties, adopting gender and race-based funding measures by donors and PACs, and ranked-choice voting (RCV). Now, the time has come for us to turn our focus to the in-person and online attacks that some candidates face, not only because they are women but because they are Black women.

Japan Ranks 118th in World Economic Forum Gender Equality Report, Shows Improvement in Political Representation. 

Credit: RepresentWomen

The World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Japan 118th out of 146 countries on gender equality in 2024. This ranking is a slight improvement from last year when Japan ranked 125th.

This progress was driven by a 1.7 percentage point increase in women holding legislative, senior official, and management roles from 2023 and a 4.6 percentage point increase from 2006.

Despite these improvements, Japan still faces significant gender disparities, with men occupying five out of six leadership roles. Our research library has several international briefs and reports that provide data-driven solutions to increase women’s representation.

Francis Tang from The Japan Times reports:

The share of women in legislative, senior official and management roles increased by 1.7 percentage points from 2023 and 4.6 percentage points from 2006, according to the report.

Japan’s gender disparity in senior roles remains significant, with five out of six leadership roles in the nation occupied by men, according to the report.

In the Global Gender Gap Index 2024, which is the overall index, Japan was the lowest-ranked Group of Seven nation, 31 places below Italy, the second-lowest ranked G7 member state… 

“Although there has been an improvement in both the score and ranking compared with last year, it shows that our country's efforts are still lagging behind other countries. We must humbly accept this reality,” Hayashi said, adding that the government is asking political parties to set targets to raise the share of female candidates standing in elections.

Alyia Gaskins Wins Democratic Nomination for Alexandria Mayor, Poised to Make History as First Black Woman Mayor

Credit:Arwen Clemans 

The preliminary results for the Alexandria mayoral elections and the Arlington County Board are in. Alyia Gaskins secured the Democratic nomination for mayor of Alexandria and is on track to become the first Black woman mayor in the city. Gaskins, a first-term city councilmember and senior program officer, emphasized community representation and garnered significant endorsements. 

In the city council race, all four Democratic incumbents are projected to retain their seats. Ranked choice voting continues for the Arlington county board seat, with candidates including former NAACP president J.D. Spain and realtor Natalie Roy leading.

Matt Blitz and Margerat Barthel from WAMU report:

Alexandria voters chose Alyia Gaskins as their Democratic mayoral candidate according to unofficial results. Six seats Alexandria City Council seats were also on the ballot, four Democratic incumbents are projected win their primaries. Meanwhile, in Arlington, election officials continue to tabulate ranked-choice votes in the Democratic primary, with five candidates on the ballot for the single open county board seat…

Gaskins tells WAMU she hopes her victory encourages others to be part of their community.

“What excites me most, as other little girls who look just like me or look like my daughter Ellie, will have representation that they’ve never seen before,” Gaskins said. “And I hope that it inspires them to know that their voice matters, that they have something to give to our community, and if they see a problem, they can step in and fix it.”

Gaskins also secured several significant endorsements, including from outgoing Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, three city council members, and a number of elected officials in neighboring jurisdictions. She outraised both her competitors as well.

Have Female presidents in Latin America Improved Women’s Lives?

Mexico just elected Claudia Scheinbaum as its first president. In this dynamic interview, WBUR journalist Megna Chakrabarti, Jennifer Piscopo, professor of gender and politics at the Royal Holloway University of London, and Carmen Alanis, a consultant on women issues in Mexico, speak on the role of female presidents in Latin America. Beginning in 2002, the Mexican Congress established a legislative quota requiring that a certain percentage of candidates for elected office be women, with fines and penalties levied if that quota is not met. 

RepresentWomen’s Fatma Tawfilk and Georgina De La Fuente examine this topic further in Women at the Front and Center of Mexican Politics: What Can the U.S. Learn?

On June 2, over 60% of registered Mexican voters went to the polls for a historic election, with over 20,000 public offices up for grabs at the federal and local levels. This election was historic, as a woman will hold the highest office in Mexico for the first time, more than 70 years after women gained the right to vote and stand for election. Over the past few years, women in Mexico have gone from being fringe operatives in the political arena to taking center stage. Still, this transformation took time and deliberate action to achieve. 

Record Number of Women Seek Texas House Seats in Upcoming November Election


Over 100 women are on the November ballot, aiming for seats in the Texas House next year. Currently, Democratic nominees for the Texas House significantly outnumber Republican nominees. This discrepancy is partly due to the traditionally low number of women representatives in the GOP, which may hinder their efforts to diversify and appeal to more voters. A true democracy needs various perspectives to thrive, and efforts are underway to increase women’s representation within the GOP, including financial support and training. 

Texas received a D letter grade in our 2023 Gender Parity Index. RepresentWomen is eager to see how these nominations will impact its score.

Erin Davis from Spectrum News 1 reports:

Currently, just 47 of 150 seats in the House are held by women. 

“The majority of women officeholders as well as candidates are Democrats,” said Kelly Dittmar with the Center for American Women and Politics. 

This November there will be 65 Democratic nominees on the ballot for a Texas House seat and 26 Republican women, a record for the GOP.

“Women tend to be a little bit more risk averse generally,” said Rep. Ellen Troxclair, R-Texas House District 19. 

Rep. Troxclair is one of the 11 Republican women incumbents compared to the 26 Democrats. She published a book, “Step Up: How to Advocate Like a Woman,” in order to encourage other conservative women run for office. 

“Not just because they’re women, but because they are qualified leaders in their communities and their families,” she said. 

Staff Recommendation: Summer Reading 

Happy Pride Month! Communications Manager Arianna Conte recommends Every Time You Hear That Song by Jenna Voris, “a queer coming-of-age story celebrating country music, complicated women, and living authentically.” This book is perfect for fans of road trips, Dolly Parton, novels told from multiple perspectives, and a mystery to solve. Check it out at your local library or independent bookstore! What is your favorite genre to read

That’s all for this week! Enjoy your weekend.

-Cynthia Richie Terrell


This weekend, I will be connecting with friends, allies, and, of course, League members at our Toast to the League of Women Voters Happy Hour! I love getting the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions and connect in person in our increasingly remote working world. I am excited to talk about how the LWV can help advance ranked choice voting and build women's political power. Follow us on Instagram, where we will be covering the event in our story!

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