By Cynthia Richie Terrell on March 25, 2022
It was then Jackson’s turn. She thanked God, her glowing family, her friends and her country. She invoked Justice Stephen G. Breyer, for whom she clerked, a not-too-subtle reminder that if the Senate found him acceptable, there should be no reason to oppose her. She gave a nod to Constance Baker Motley, the first African American woman appointed to the federal judiciary. And Jackson reaffirmed her “careful adherence to precedent,” acknowledging her tendency to write long opinions so people know exactly her reasons for deciding a case. (If only the Supreme Court’s right-wing justices felt similarly and stopped abusing the “shadow docket” and issuing orders without written opinions.)
Jackson provided a succinct description of her own view of what it means to be a judge: “I have been a judge for nearly a decade now, and I take that responsibility and my duty to be independent very seriously,” she said. “I decide cases from a neutral posture. I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me.”
She is so manifestly qualified, so perfectly embodies the American dream and is so blessed with superior judicial temperament that it is obvious why Republicans are struggling. They just can’t seem to find a way to knock down a super-qualified, charming, humble and brilliant Black woman. It seems it does not occur to them that they should stop looking for the limelight (to further their presidential ambitions), ask short and reasonable questions and then vote to confirm on her qualifications. And that tells you everything you need to know about the decline of both the Senate and the Supreme Court.
I know firsthand how Black women in government struggle to find mentorship and guidance on these unique challenges, and yet, they continue to blaze trails and break down barriers despite them. Think about it: In recent years, around the country and throughout various levels of government, Black women have made high-profile history. In the 2020 presidential election, Kamala Harris was elected as the first-ever Black, South Asian, and woman vice president. Last year, Kristen Clarke became the first Black woman to head the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Sändra Washington became the first Black lesbian on Lincoln, Nebraska’s city council in 2021. These women are giving way to a new generation of Black women leaders in politics and I am thrilled to see the lived experiences of my community reflected in the members of our nation’s governing body. And although I will continue to celebrate Black women breaking the ubiquitous glass ceiling, I look forward to the day when we don’t have to celebrate their historic firsts.
The next area to consider is the way gender privilege manifests itself across C-suite and board level management. In the US men are advantaged in holding senior appointments: 79% of C-suite executives in corporate America are male (McKinsey, 2020). Across the FTSE 100 companies in the UK, there are 94 men as compared to only six female chief executive officers (Cotton, 2021). Many of the steps that are currently being taken to improve gender diversity at companies are unfortunately found to be highly ineffective. The IBM Institute for Business Value report looks at longitudinal data of 429 companies who participated in their survey both in 2019 and 2021, examining ranks across 10 industries and nine geographic regions (2021). The report finds that advancing women is not a top priority for the majority of global organisations, and that most equality programs do not necessarily lead to better outcomes. One reason behind the ineffectiveness of such programs is because interventions do not sufficiently address mindset change (IBM Institute for Business Value, 2021).
New research from thinktank RepresentWomen shows that intentional strategies in the region have bolstered representation in many post-soviet states. Beneficial techniques which are often overlooked or outright rejected in U.S. Politics.
As part of their international research series, RepresentWomen’s brief on this region shows gender quotas or something similar might be an interesting lever for increasing women’s representation and overall fairness in government.
While discussions of quotas are unpopular in the U.S., in the post-Soviet region three out of five top countries for women’s representation use quotas and four of the bottom five countries do not. This research also found women’s representation in the executive branch was higher in countries with a previous or current female head of state.
This experience with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a perfect diorama of what can work in our U.S. political elections. In fact, this system is already working across the country. RepresentWomen’s RCV Dashboard shows us that 43 jurisdictions nationwide have abandoned the outdated winner-take-all system and upgraded to ranked choice voting. It also shows us that when voters’ power is strengthened, they vote for candidates who are women and people of color...
As seen in the Oscars, in New York and in many other elections around the world, when an electoral system empowers voters to choose their real preferences (rather than the lesser of two evils) without fear of wasting their vote, women win.
And this isn’t just about fairness. Representation matters because diversity and gender balance in policy-making positions improves policy processes and policy outcomes. As Stefani Brown James of The Collective PAC said, “For us to have a democracy that works for the people, it should be made up of the people. And most importantly, to change the laws so that they better reflect the needs of our communities, we need to change the lawmakers.”
And to change the lawmakers, we need to change the systems we use to elect them.
And now, as Oscar voting is closing, here are the results. The answer to which film is the favorite is simple: “Parasite.”
Bong Joon Ho’s South Korean film that won the Oscar in 2020, is by far the favorite of the 270 people who participated in the poll. Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” finished second, followed by, in this order, “Spotlight,” “The Shape of Water,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Argo,” “Nomadland,” “Birdman,” “The Artist” and, in last place, “Green Book.”
At Hollywood.com, we commemorate the strides that have been made to achieve gender equality within the entertainment industry, but there is a lot more work to be done for women’s rights in Hollywood.
In Hollywood, women stepped up to the challenge and achieved major milestones in 2021.
- The 90-minute conversation will kick off with a welcome by Letitia “Tish” James, New York Attorney General.
- Jessica Haller of 21 in ‘21 will then share about the years leading up to November 2021, and all the preparation work that created fertile soil for the success of this RCV election.
- Then, Katharine Pichard-Erskine will moderate a discussion with Councilmembers Crystal Hudson, Carmen De La Rosa, Amanda Farías, and Nantasha Williams to hear more about the candidate experience. There will be time for audience Q&A after the panel.
That's all for this week my friends,
Unlike her immediate predecessor, Warren Christopher, a reserved foreign policy wonk who saw his role as Mr. Clinton’s diplomatic lawyer, Ms. Albright was an aggressive advocate of Clinton policies. Conscious of television cameras but remarkably natural in public, she strolled through crowded capitals (with discreet security guards) like a tourist with free time on her hands.
She was a diminutive presence with an assured style: impeccably tailored and perfectly coifed, with touches of gold or pearl in her brooches, an amused smile for the cognoscenti and eyes that missed nothing. In meetings with foreign diplomats, colleagues said, she was firm but flexible, prepared to move beyond her talking points and to engage her counterparts in frank oval-table bargaining.
“So often in diplomacy, it’s all set pieces,” an aide told The New York Times. “You say this and I say that and the meeting ends and nothing happens. But she engages. And in contrast to nearly all her predecessors, she doesn’t hide policy differences, but brings them out, and speaks very directly of them, saying things like ‘Here’s what we agree on, here’s what we don’t. Let me tell you what the real problem is.'"