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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation March 29th, 2024

Dear Readers,

As Spring is upon us, I am excited about renewed momentum for our work. We are still celebrating the re-introduction of the Fair Representation Act, as we know this will lead us to a more inclusive, effective, and resilient democracy.

Credit: RepresentWomen

The Women’s Power Collaborative hosted another informational Lunch and Learn this week. Vote Mama Lobby’s Sarah Hague and Louisa Duggan led this inspirational conversation on Campaign Funds for Child Care. This inspiring conversation is critical to our movement as it will assist in increasing women’s representation in the political space. Check out the recording on our YouTube page.

Credit: RepresentWomen

This week, learn about Senegal’s only woman presidential candidate, the work Stacey Abrams and Cori Bush are doing to increase women’s representation in political spaces, and how the Equal Rights Amendment will positively impact gender equality.

Anta Babacar Becomes Senegal’s Beacon of Hope as The Country’s Only Women Presidential Candidate

Credit: Carmen Abd Ali

Anta Babacar Ngom is Senegal's only woman presidential candidate in the upcoming election. 

She advocates for women's economic empowerment and promises to create jobs and a bank for women.

Her candidacy symbolizes progress towards gender equality in Senegal. However, this progress should be faster. To see women’s equality politically and socially, we must adopt structural solutions that address the barriers they face.

Africa News reports:

Few expect Ngom to emerge among the leading candidates for the presidency. Still, activists say that a woman has made it to the presidential race for the first time in years, reflecting how women are inching ahead in the struggle for equality.

"We have to be there, even if we don't stand a chance," said Selly Ba, an activist and sociologist. "We don't stand a chance in these elections. But it's important that we have women candidates, women who are in the race."

Ngom is the first female candidate to run for president in over a decade, reflecting how progress has been frustratingly slow in the minds of activists who say there has been a reversal among young people toward more traditional views of women's societal roles.

Senegal’s fight for parity ties in with RepresentWomen’s avid push for gender parity in the United States. Our Gender Parity Index serves as a powerful tool, highlighting both our progress and the distance yet to be covered on the path to parity. 

US House Dissolves Office of Diversity and Inclusion Amidst Government Spending Deal

Credit: Dr Sesha Joi Moon via Linkedin

A $1.2 trillion government spending bill was recently passed to avoid a government shutdown. However, there have been major cutbacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs, and as of March 25th, the government’s office has closed. DEI programs and initiatives have increasingly faced attacks from critics and lawmakers.

Dr. Sesha Joi Moon, Director of Diversity and Inclusions,, has expressed her disappointment and sadness regarding the office’s shutdown and gratitude for the immense support she has received since the news broke. 

As an organization, RepresentWomen is working to get women from all walks of life into office. Our recent brief, Breaking Barriers for Black Women in Politics, discusses the barriers that Black women in leadership face and the possible solutions to overcome them. Our government must prioritize the need for representation that reflects the United States as a whole.  

Melissa Noel from Essence reports:

The US House Office of Diversity and Inclusion will officially be dissolved as part of a recently passed government spending bill. 

“I’ve been asked if I’m mad about what happened to the U.S. House Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the United States Congress and the answer is that I’m more so sad — the dissolution of the country’s top office to ensure a representative workforce in the world’s most deliberative body that legislates our lives is a sad day for America,” Moon said.

“Research shows that six out of 10 citizens agree that a representative society makes the United States of America a better place to live — and the overwhelming outrage and outpouring in response to the dissolution of my office has been both reaffirming and recommiting,” she added.

Stacey Abrams and Cori Bush Push for Greater Representation and Meaningful Change

Credit: The Hill

An article from The Hill by Tiah Shepherd discusses the push for more representation in politics by  Stacey Abrams and Cori Bush. While the role of Black women in government and politics is growing, they remain underrepresented in elected office. Black women in politics play a crucial role in driving meaningful change and must be empowered to do so.

Our brief “Breaking Barriers for Black Women in Politics” highlights crucial system strategies that would increase Black women’s political representation.  

“Our representation matters because it’s the way we get to the American Dream that we’ve all been told we are entitled to,” former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) said Thursday at The Hill’s “Black Women in Politics” event, hosted in partnership with Howard University and The Switch Up podcast.

“So, either we change the ethos of this nation, or we change the process that makes it so, and my intention is to change the process. That’s why I worked so hard to make certain we can all vote that we can participate, irrespective of who you vote for,” she continued. “You should have the right to be heard.”

How the Equal Rights Amendment Can Be a Game Changer in Addressing Gender Inequality 

Credit: Paul Rudden 

Naomi Young’s article in Ms. Magazine highlights the urgent need to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. Recent Supreme Court rulings, like those concerning Second and First Amendment rights, have raised concerns about prioritizing constitutional freedoms over the safety of survivors. 

Gender-based violence has historically been overlooked as a form of sex discrimination in the United States. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) aims to rectify this by providing constitutional protection for gender equality, which would empower Congress to address gender-based violence.

The current reality in the U.S.—that one in three women experiences sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner within their lifetimes—is rooted in the history of a legal system that upheld gendered hierarchies and tolerated, if not promoted, violence within marriages. The 1848 Women’s Rights Convention’s Declaration of Sentiments listed the husband’s “right of chastisement” among its grievances. While courts no longer recognize such a right, its legacy lives on in internalized biases throughout the legal system, which generally minimizes gender-based violence as private, trivial, or normal. Meanwhile, gender-based violence persists in conditions of economic and social inequality.

The legal system’s nearly singular reliance on law enforcement to address gender-based violence does more to uphold existing hierarchies of race and sex than to dismantle inequality. Despite these issues, the anti-violence movement has painfully eked out successes, including the recognition of forms of gender-based violence in state law and the provision of a system of social services and resources established 30 years ago when Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)...

But the ERA invites us to envision bolder solutions to gender-based violence beyond VAWA’s civil rights remedy, civil orders of protection, or the criminal justice system.

Nearly 30% of LGBTQ Women Candidates Discouraged from Running for Office Due to Bias

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey. Credit Steve Senne 

A recent report by the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute and Loyola Marymount University's LGBTQ+ Politics Research Initiative reveals that nearly 30 percent of LGBTQ women candidates were discouraged from running for office due to their gender or gender identity. This number was significantly higher than that of LGBTQ+ men. It also finds that LGBTQ+ women are more likely to face personal attacks on their appearance while campaigning. 

The importance of LGBTQ+ women continuing to pursue political office cannot be understated. Learn more about LGBTQ+ members of Congress on our website.

Tara Suter from The Hill reports:

The new report from the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute and Loyola Marymount University’s LGBTQ+ Politics Research Initiative found that 27.2 percent of LGBTQ women candidates in the survey were discouraged from running because of their gender or gender identity. According to the report, the percentage of LGBTQ women who faced discouragement because of their gender or gender identity was four times higher than that of gay and bisexual men (7.1 percent)...

“Despite the obstacles, LGBTQ+ women must continue to claim their seat at the table by running for office,” Parker said. “It’s on all of us to help level the playing field for LGBTQ+ women candidates by recruiting and supporting them, calling out media bias and holding bigots accountable.”

In the 2022 midterms, a record 340 openly LGBTQ candidates ran and won their elections in a so-called rainbow wave, with candidates such as current Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey (D), who became the nation’s first openly lesbian governor, notching wins.

What do you like about DC?

Last week, we asked readers to tell us what their favorite part of the Fair Representation Act was with a ranked choice voting poll. "Ends Gerrymandering" was the winner.

Peak bloom for Washington DC.’s Cherry blossoms has now ended. But fear not! There are still plenty of activities to do in DC this spring. Let us know which DC activity is your favorite with this ranked choice voting poll!

That's all for this week. Have a terrific weekend!

Cynthia Richie Terrell


Next Saturday is my 60th birthday, and to celebrate, RepresentWomen is launching a fundraising campaign in April. Our goal is to raise $60,000, and with a pledge from a generous donor that will double every dollar we raise, I believe these gifts will help us build our capacity and deepen our impact, significantly. So, I hope that you will celebrate my birthday by supporting our fundraiser and helping us build a more representative democracy.


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