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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation June 2, 2017


Susannah Wellford and Laura Cox Kaplan joined Mika Brzezinski at an event at the Embassy of Germany that was focused on the "importance of authenticity, knowing and owning your value, and tackling self doubt" according to Laura Cox Kaplan - looks like a fabulous event!
Dear all,

A interesting story on CBCNews reports that the Liberals in Canada have appointed women to judicial positions and as candidates in key districts in order to achieve gender parity. Intentional actions like these are gaining momentum in the UK and Canada which is significant not only because they are major allies of the US but also because they share our single winner district/ winner takes all voting system. Building relationships with gender parity advocates in Canada is essential so that we can learn from their successes.

​And another fascinating story by David Israelson in the Canadian magazine Corporate Knights profiles Canadian businesses that are advancing gender parity through setting targets for women on their boards and leadership:

Catalyst’s research led to the question of whether the OSC and Canada’s other securities regulators need more robust regulation and should consider explicit targets for male-female balance and perhaps even quotas.

For example, Norway brought in gender quotas in 2003, giving companies until 2008 to meet the standards it set or face penalties. While Norwegian companies didn’t quite meet the 40 per cent standard, they went from 6.8 per cent women on boards in 2002 to 35.5 per cent in 2014, the highest in the world.

Britain followed up on a 2010 recommendation by Lord Davies of Abersoch, who stopped short of calling for quotas but suggested explicit targets for gender parity.

Women’s representation on FTSE 100 boards has more than doubled since 2011 to reach 26.1 per cent in 2015. Significantly, by 2015 there were no companies on the FTSE 100 with all-male boards.

In the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission requires companies to disclose their boards’ gender balance, but companies that do not have diversity policies are not required to explain why not

In 2014, women held 19.2 per cent of board seats in the U.S., and Catalyst notes that this simple disclosure policy “is widely viewed as ineffective.”


Those of you who work with middle and high school age girls will be especially interested in this terrific looking program Dancing Backwards which is collecting stories from students on "citizenship, gender parity and women in leadership through use of creative media" online this summer:
Dancing Backwards centres around encouragement of youth voters, gender balance in government and the necessity of women in leadership roles today, in the future and throughout history. The program begins with five “reflective” weeks where students learn the impact politics have on their own lives and why they should become involved.
Mayzell explains that young people do not vote often because they do not realize how politics affects their lives. “Dancing Backwards teaches that politics affects everything from cell phones, to drinking water, to school years,” she said. When a young person understands how an election might impact their own life, they are more likely to vote.
The Brooklyn Rail reports on the "Parity, Politics and Survival Women in Theater Festival" which will take place this June at the Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre at A.R.T./New York Theatres on West 53rd Street - Michole Biancosino leads this innovative sounding work.

On Paste, Leah Rosenzweig reflects on the Women X Women public art initiative that seeks to challenge "massive discrepancies in gender representation" - it sounds like an amazing project:

The history and the story of power—it’s one that certainly looks male—and white—especially when considering the history of art. But with Women X Women, the curatorial minds of Tictail and Absolut Art are positioning female artists to reclaim the history of both art and power. One example is Elise Peterson’s “Mammy Wata,” which reclaims a traditionally derogatory term aimed at black nursemaids or nannies who cared for white children during a time when slavery held prominence in the old American South. Considered one of the most well known and enduring racial caricatures of African American women, the character of the “mammy,” generally depicting a wide grin and loyal servitude, was once used as propaganda to convey that black women were happy as slaves. By reclaiming such an archetype, Peterson also reclaims the female Black American experience.

Gender Avenger applauded actress Jessica Chastain for calling out the under-representation of women story tellers at this year's Cannes Film Festival!

Have a terrific weekend,


P.S. If you are looking for some longer weekend reading check out this piece by Kim Phillips-Fein in The Nation entitled The Two Women's Movements - when I ran the 1992 campaign for an ERA in Iowa I spent my time battling Phyllis Schlafly - I think she won that battle but I intend to win this one.

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