Weekend Reading on Women's Representation May 31, 2019

By Cynthia Richie Terrell on May 31, 2019


Dear women's representation enthusiasts,
Africanews.com reported that the government of South Africa now has a gender balanced cabinet joining Rwanda and Ethiopia - which is very exciting news:

South Africa’s cabinet announced on Wednesday became the third on the African continent that has an equal number of female and male ministers.

Ramaphosa who hailed the cabinet for making history as the first gender-parity cabinet in the country’s history, joins Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame who have taken similar actions.

India Today also covered this news:

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his new Cabinet, slashing from 36 to 28 the number of ministers, including two Indian-origins, days after he was sworn in at a stadium in the capital Pretoria.

In the new Cabinet announced late Wednesday, half the new ministers are women, making South Africa one of the world's few gender-balanced governments.

Ramaphosa, 66, led the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party to victory in elections earlier this month with a majority of 57.5 percent, the smallest since the party came to power 25 years ago.


(I found a delicious lemon macaron in Seattle)

I am traveling this week with stops in LA for a great meeting at the Academy of Motion Pictures to discuss their use of ranked choice voting & strategies to get women into key sectors of the film industry, the next stop was the Bay Area where conversations continued about ranked choice voting and women's representation - along with several great events - and now I am dashing to a set of meetings in Seattle to discuss voting system reform proposals that will increase the number of women running for and winning office!

After our great meeting at the Academy about ways Rob and I can help educate Oscar voters about ranked choice voting, we had a tour of the building that included incredible views and plenty of Oscar statues:
After some great meetings in Palo Alto, Rob and I found ourselves at breakfast at a donor's home on Belvedere in Marin County with Representative Xochitl Torres Small from NM - it was very fun to ride into San Francisco with her to attend the Emerge luncheon! Featured speakers at the luncheon included Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf and SF mayor London Breed - both of whom were elected with ranked choice voting - in fact 3 of the 4 Bay Area cities with RCV have women mayors.
Rep Torres-Small)
It was great fun to see fellow ReflectUS board member and CEO of IGNITE Anne Moses at FairVote's event last night at yet another generous donor's home where there was lots of discussion of the growing movement for ranked choice voting in cities, states, and for the presidential nomination process!
(Anne Moses founder and president of IGNITE)
There were a few articles that caught my eye in the midst of all the travel including:
  • This piece about women gaining ground in European Parliamentary elections held last week
  • This news story about new efforts to celebrate the contributions of Susan B Anthony, Ida B Wells and others in bronze statuary
  • This report on the election of women to parliament in India
(Rep Elise Stefanik)
Governing Magazine had an interesting piece on the under-representation of GOP women which continues to be a challenge - RepresentWomen's systems reforms are essential to opening up the primary process to republican women candidates:
Though women's representation in state legislatures increased from about 25 percent to 29 percent after the 2018 midterms, Republican women saw their representation decline from nearly 10 percent to 9 percent. Before the midterms, 705 state legislators were Republican women; after, only 662.
Finally, The Irish Times had a fascinating piece about the various strategies to increase the number of women in parliament:

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) has welcomed the increased number of women councillors but expressed disappointment at the failure to break the critical 30 per cent barrier. Its director, Orla O’Connor, said progress in rural areas was particularly slow and lagged the advances in more urban areas.

It appears that the Government’s approach of offering incentives to political parties to ensure women make up at least 30 per cent of nominated candidates has not worked as well as hoped and the NWCI is pressing for the introduction of a mandatory gender quota for candidates similar to that which applies for general elections.


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