Weekend Reading on Women's Representation May 17, 2019

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on May 17, 2019


(I suspect these Irish sheep favour quotas...)
My dear friends,
There was a fascinating article in The Times of Dublin about the National Women's Council of Ireland's call for gender quotas in local elections - another reminder that other nations are leading the conversation about innovative systems reforms to advance women's representation and leadership:

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) has called for gender quotas to be introduced in future local elections after Fianna Fail and Fine Gael both failed to achieve 30% female nominations in their lists of candidates.

Women account for 28.3% of the 1,979 candidates contesting the elections on May 24, up from 21.6% in 2014. However, Fianna Fail managed to reach only 21.2% and Fine Gael 29% under a new government incentive where parties with at least 30% female candidates qualify for extra funding of €250 per female candidate, to enable them to hire a diversity officer.

Parties failing to achieve the 30% benchmark will receive just €100 per female candidate in extra funding.


I recommend watching Desi Lydic "Abroad" on The Daily Show that is a terrific deep dive into women's representation in Iceland, Namibia, and Spain - here is the link to that actual special that requires a login:

When correspondent Desi Lydic of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah saw that the U.S. ranked 49 on an annual scale of gender equality in 2017, she set off to countries that beat it.

Traveling to Iceland, Namibia, Spain — numbers 1, 13 and 25 respectively in the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap Report — she talked to women leading the fight for gender parity and explored the cultural conversations that were driving change.

Then, in the 2018 report, the U.S. fell even further, to 51.


YourStory.com profiled an interesting commentary by Apurva Purohit about the need for male allies in the work for gender parity:

In the patriarchal world we live in, where men invent and run systems, they must want to change if we are to achieve lasting equality. Even today, a staggering 95 percent of leadership positions across the largest public companies in the world are held by men. To rely solely on women to subvert the practices and structures that maintain the status quo is an illogical approach when the site of organisational power resides in the hands of men.

So, until and unless men become allies in the fight for gender equality, women can’t achieve individual empowerment. And collective improvement will elude society as a whole, not just women. The findings from a 2017 BCG Gender Diversity Survey state that 96 percent of the companies where men were actively involved in gender diversity initiatives, reported progress. Among companies where men were not involved, only 30 percent showed progress.


There was a good recap of the elections in South Africa and the impact on women's representation and another interesting story from Johannesburg from Eyewitness News about calls for equal representation for women in parliament and in the newly elected government's

The African National Congress Women’s League on Friday called for equal representation of women in Parliament.

The call came as the ANC on Saturday finalised its selection of premier candidates, as the party is set to retain eight provinces following elections. The IEC will announce its final results on Saturday evening.

The ANCWL’s Meokgo Matuba said: “We are expecting to have at least 50% in all provinces, where the ANC has won elections.”


Congratulations to Kristina Wilfore and the team at Global Gain for their launch this week - from what I saw on social media it looks like it was a terrific event and of course a great cause! Global Gain is hosting an event about Women's Leadership & Activism in Turkey on May 22nd in Washington, DC - register here.


Actress Julianne Moore gave a terrific interview about her support for gender quotas to address the under-representation of women in the film industry:

“We will not have gender parity unless everybody is cooperating. Women are not a special interest group. We’re 52 percent of the global population,” Moore said during an event at the Cannes Film Festival. “In order to restore the balance, I do think that there will be, that we will need some measures to change our culture.”

“We will have to make major changes to reach parity. That’s just a fact. So, I do believe in quotas. I really do,” added Moore. “I believe in trying to level the playing field for everybody regardless of their gender or their culture or ethnicity. You have to open doors.”

I certainly agree that new (to the US) systems strategies are needed to advance women's representation and leadership - it's clear that 1) more women are needed in office, & 2) the current pace of change is not fast enough - new strategies that complement current strategies are a must!
As always, let's find ways to collaborate and deliberate together - our leadership is needed more than ever.
Finally, please sign up for Seneca Fall Revisited 2019 - August 25-27th in Saratoga Springs, NY - it will be a great opportunity to continue the conversation about women's equality and representation this year, next year, and in the years to come.
P.S. Swanee Hunt is hosting a book party for Susan Page on May 29th at 6:30 pm at her home in Washington, DC. Please email Silverio Ramirez at sramirez@swaneehunt.org if you would like to attend!
Show Comments
comments powered by Disqus

Join us in turning public passion for gender parity into action and results