Weekend Reading on Women's Representation June 7, 2019

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on June 07, 2019


(The members of the first all-female Madison School Board, from left, Ali Muldrow, Ananda Mirilli, Mary Burke, Gloria Reyes, Cris Carusi, Kate Toews and Nicki Vander Meulen.

One hundred years later, Wisconsin government doesn’t exactly look like it was the first to ratify the 19th Amendment recognizing women’s right to vote.

Women represent just 27% of the seats in the state Legislature, have not served as governor or Assembly speaker, and hold just 20% of county board seats, 12% of mayorships and only two out of 10 positions in the state’s congressional delegation.



There were many thoughtful stories - including this one from CBS New's about this week's 100th anniversary of the ratification of women's suffrage - there is far more to say on this topic and the complexity around the history of racism and partisanship of 19th century suffragists but I trust that all of you have found lots of reading on these topics:

The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing American women the right to vote, celebrates a big birthday on Tuesday, as it was passed by both chambers of Congress 100 years ago on June 4, 1919. According to the National Archives, the House of Representatives first passed the amendment on May 21, 1919, and two weeks later, on June 4, the Senate followed with a vote of 56 to 25. The next year, following approval by three-fourths of state legislatures, the amendment was ratified into the Constitution. 

The opening of the Amendment's text reads, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." 


I haven't yet been to the exhibit One Hundred Years Ago, Women Won The Vote at the National Archives but it looks very interesting - let me know if anyone wants to join me for a tour of the exhibit!


Loving Malta (what a great name) had a very interesting piece raising questions about whether Malta needs quotas anymore given the success of women elected to EU elections:

For the second time running, Malta has elected the same number of women as men to the European Parliament, raising questions as to whether the government’s push for gender quotas may be a futile exercise.

This is not to say that our local parliament does not have a severe gender disparity, with Malta routinely ranking the lowest in the EU for female parliamentary representation.

However, with Miriam Dalli and Roberta Metsola receiving the most first count votes of their respective parties and Josianne Cutajar becoming the youngest MEP and first Gozitan ever elected, is the way the public votes the real issue behind the disparity?


The Independent had a quite interesting article about the timeline for nations reaching gender equality on a range of measures:

No country in the world is set to achieve gender equality by 2030, a new report has found.

On Monday 3 June, the Equal Measures 2030 partnership released its inaugural Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Gender Index, a report which assessed the state of gender equality across 129 countries across the globe.

The Equal Measures 2030 is an independent civil society and a private sector-led partnership which advocates for gender equality. 

The report, which covers approximately 95 per cent of the world's female population, discovered that "no country in the world has reached the 'last mile' on gender equality", claims the index...

Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a speaker at the conference, described the report as "a wake-up call to the world".


Jay Newton-Small shared this terrific-looking resource from Meg Heckman:
A few of my colleagues and I will spend the coming months measuring and analyzing gender disparities in coverage of the 2020 presidential campaign. We had two pieces drop today. The first installment found that female candidates tend to receive more negative coverage than their male peers -- the latest example of a long and troubling trend of gender bias that dates back to when the very first woman ran for president. The second piece is a byline count that shows men are writing two thirds of national stories about the race. 
Share as you see fit. And, if you have an example of gender bias in 2020 campaign coverage, please tweet to me at @meg_heckman using the hashtag #2020gendertracker.  And, if you're looking for an expert source on gender and political media, I'm available for interviews, on air appearances, etc. These are part of a bigger tracking project that will look at other aspects of 2020 coverage. Look for it to ramp up again late summer/early fall.
All the best for a relaxing weekend - I know we all work so hard and have so much on our plates - wouldn't it be nice to to spend more time with one another?
(My radishes are the size of small apples!)

P.S. While short on staff and funding, RepresentWomen has a terrific team of interns again this summer including Andrea Rebolledo from Chile who is studying at Harvard and Gilda Geist from Maryland who is studying at Brandeis. Another RW intern Courtney Lamendola - who just graduated from SAIS - is stepping into the role of research director and will also be managing interns while I am traveling this summer.
In just a few short days Gilda has updated our Women's Representation By The Numbers piece - see below - and crafted a summary of our report on international women's representation - see attached.
Andrea has added population numbers and updated the data on our database on international women's representation and written an OpEd on the Danish elections!
Courtney is finalizing the the 2019 Gender Parity Index report - stay tuned for the release in the coming weeks!



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