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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation October 7, 2016


Photo from a piece by Ashley Parker from Glamour that reviews some of the women who are shaping the 2016 election.

Dear friends,

Sophia Tesfaye had a piece in Salon on the challenges republican women face running for and getting elected to Congress:

For more than a decade, the number of Republican women in Congress has remained roughly stagnant. The share of Democratic women — now nearly 33 percent — has continued to climb, while the Republican female share has leveled off since hitting 10 percent during the mid-2000s. Currently there are just 22 women in the Republican caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives. Democrats have 62 women in the House.

Christianna Silva had a piece on FiveThirtyEight this week entitled "Don't Hold Your Breath For Gender Parity in Congress - It Could Take Another 100 Years." The rate of change in women's representation in Congress is misleading because the most progress has been made in the states that ranked the lowest.

Stories like these confirm the need for new strategies to elect women across the political and geographic spectrum if we are to win parity in our lifetimes!

The power of Representation2020's structural reform proposals are illustrated beautifully in this piece from The Argentina Independent about the new gender parity law for the province of Buenos Aires - while the U.S. does have a different electoral system - we can mimic the parity rules that are used in over 100 countries to make sure that more women are recruited to run. The text below reflects a willingness to be intentional about recruitment rules that I find very motivating!

Article 32 of the provincial Electoral Act, aims to reduce the proliferation of gender inequality, and increase the participation rate of women in provincial governance...Many lawmakers and political commentators were quick to offer their praise for the provincial legislation, clearly satisfied to be tackling a controversial issue that has yet to be fully addressed at the national level. “Today politics triumphed over prejudice. In a few years, they will say ‘look at what the women had to fight for!’” acclaimed Maria del Huerto Ratto, member of the political party Renewal Front.


Despite the very hard work of several women on this list - and many others - there will not be a woman head of the United Nations. Anne Marie Goetz starts her report on the vote to select Anotnia Guterrre in OpenDemocracy with these sobering words:

António Guterres's election as the new UN Secretary-General is a stark illustration of how male-dominated decision-making means that female leadership is not just rare, but virtually inconceivable.

Susannah Wellford had yet another inspiring piece in U.S. News and World Report about why we need to elect more women!

Research also proves that the best decisions are made by the most diverse group of decision-makers. In studies with a homogeneous group of experts pitted against a diverse group of novices, the more diverse group will come up with the strongest decisions. Right now Congress is 80 percent male, 80 percent white, and 92 percent Christian. By electing more young women to Congress (currently there are only three under 40, compared to 18 men) we will add some much needed diversity to a decision-making body that needs a fresh way of looking at problems.

Running Start is accepting applications for the Spring of 2017 - use this link to apply - my daughter is a fellow this semester and is loving it! They visited the Sewall Belmont House today!


Gender AvengerWomen's Media Center, and CAWP having been tracking the number of times that women appear on news talk shows - check out the new blog to see who has been talking most these last 6 months!

Don't forget to check out IGNITE's event in 9 cities around the country on October 13th!


The campaign for ranked choice voting in Maine has been getting a lot of great press - two pieces from this week stand out in particular: from The Voting System That Could Rescue U.S. Politics and Maine can bring out the 'better angels' of our democracy with ranked-choice voting from the Bangor Daily News.

Okay, that's all for now - there is always more to share but I suspect that you already have plenty to read!


P.S. Eleanor Roosevelt's birthday is October 11th - some of you may know I have a started a petition to rename an airport after Eleanor. There are no major airports named for a woman in the United States and very little has been done to celebrate the life and many contributions of the longest serving first lady, advocate for human rights, and champion for peace and diplomacy.

Please sign and share the petition the attached pdf has live links for sharing!


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