Skip navigation

Weekend Reading on Women's Representation May 12, 2017

Hello my friends,
The best news this week for women is that newly elected French president Emmanuel Macron announced that half of his cabinet will be comprised of women and that half of the 400 En Marche legislative candidates are women as well, according to this story on CNN.
The party of French President-elect Emmanuel Macron has unveiled the names of more than 400 candidates for the June legislative elections -- and half of them are women...On Thursday, En Marche! secretary general Richard Ferrand announced that 214 men and 214 women had been selected to run for the party -- and added that 52% of the candidates had never held electoral office. The announcement appears to fulfill the party's pledge in January that at least half its candidates would come from outside the political establishment and that half would be women. En Marche! has said it will field a candidate in all 577 seats, so more are expected to be announced in coming weeks.Ferrand said the party had 19,000 applicants, 71% of whom were men and 29% were women.France ranks first in the world, along with Bulgaria and Nicaragua, for the highest proportion of women in ministerial positions, at more than 52%, UN Women data shows. But its female representation in Parliament is dramatically lower, at just 25.8%, ranking 63rd in the world. Winning the most seats in Parliament will be no mean feat for En Marche!, which is less than a year old and is scrambling to finalize its list of candidates to contest all 577 seats.

This move by Macron is a stunning and encouraging demonstration of what real leadership on gender parity looks like. Those of us in the United States must challenge our party leaders at every level to make this same, simple, commitment to parity. In fact, it's time for all of us to declare our support for parity!

Another thing to be grateful for this Mother's Day weekend is Susannah Wellford's sage writing - her topic this week in US News and World Report was the importance of electing Black women to office. 

It's hard enough to run for an elected position, at any level. And it is totally unacceptable that at the end of all this hard work, when you have finally won, you face a backlash because of who you are. As Higher Heights reports, black women face particular challenges in running for office. There is a "seemingly endless barrage of image-damaging personal attacks that appear uniquely targeted toward Black women, and which seldom, if ever, have anything to do with [their] leadership abilities or qualifications."

The 2016 elections saw one bright spot for women's representation: The country elected more women of color than ever before. But that number is still abysmally low – the number of women of color in the Senate may have quadrupled from the last Congress, but it quadrupled from 1 to 4. Higher Heights says that we will need "concerted and informed efforts to recruit, support, and elect Black women at all levels of political office" if we are ever going to make the number of black women representative in politics.

Congratulations to Kate Loeffelman Black has some news to share, she writes:
For the past 6 months, I have been working nights, mornings, and weekends to make this side project happen. "Represent. The Badass Woman's Guide to Running for Office and Changing the World" will hit shelves in Spring, 2019. Working with the hilarious, amazing and talented June Diane Raphael, we are co-writing a book that is the "first ask" for women even thinking about running for office. And if she doesn't run, it will help her support and nominate other women in her life to take action.

You can read more about the project here!
The New American Leadership Project is holding a training for New American Women in NYC June 9-10th - visit their site for more details!

The Barbara Lee Family Foundation held a fun Twitter chat this week on how to run for office and be a mother at the same time! I need to brush up on my hashtag use but overall it was a great way to highlight the challenges mothers face as candidates as the one-day holiday for mothers everywhere approaches!

And in case some of you missed my post yesterday, Representation2020's Gender Parity Index report was released this week and was covered by Prachi Gupta on Jezebel and on Mic by Marie Solis. You can listen to the podcast with Prachi too - conversation about women's representation starts at minute 22:15 or so!

​You may be interested in how the scores were calculated and in seeing how your state ranks!

May all of you who are mothers, or who had mothers, or who might someday be mothers find the energy and strength to sustain you in this important work for gender parity. Kate Vikstrom reminds us to fight for the bread but demand the rose as well...

In solidarity

Continue Reading

Read More