Weekend Reading on Women's Representation October 19, 2018

By Cynthia Terrell on October 19, 2018

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Dear friends,
I have had mixed feedback on whether to include full articles or just snippets with strong feelings on both sides of the question but this week I am going to try the path of shorter links so that you are not overwhelmed by text!
Carly Fiorina, GOP candidate for president during the 2016 primary season, had a very compelling piece in the Washington Post today. I hope that you will read the entire piece but here is a snippet:
We won’t change things substantively unless we change our mind-set. When talent is squandered, when human potential is crushed, when someone’s spirit is broken, we all lose. When I counsel organizations on diversity and inclusion, I always start somewhere else entirely. As the statistics amply demonstrate, most of the money spent on diversity and inclusion training is wasted. I focus organizations on achievement and excellence, not sensitivity and “being nice.” Teams discover that to accomplish more and perform at a higher level, they need to include others around the table. When people learn that diversity is in their own self-interest, not just the morally right thing to do, behavior changes and real inclusion begins.

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A record number of women are running for office, including, from left, former Michigan state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, former Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams, activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and U.S. Rep. Martha McSally. (Associated Press; Getty Images)
There was an interesting story in the LA Times by Colleen Shalby about the record year for women candidates entitled "A record number of women are running for office. This election cycle, they didn't wait for an invite" - read the whole story here.
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A story about abortion policy in Australia in The New York Times caught my eye because it describes the impact of having more women in power at all levels - you can read the full piece to get a full understanding of the debate but here is a snippet of the story:

Activists in the Australian state of Queensland have tried for decades to scrap a criminal code from 1899 that makes having an abortion an offense punishable with prison time, and for decades their efforts have failed.

But as the state Parliament again considers whether to decriminalize abortion, advocates say this time may be different: Women will be leading the debate.

In a state known for its history of conservatism, the Queensland Parliament has achieved a striking level of representation for women: The premier, the head of the government, is a woman, the first in Australia to be elected to two terms. Her deputy is a woman, and so is half of her cabinet. And, in another first, the opposition is also led by a woman.

“This bill is closer than we’ve ever been,” said Daile Kelleher, the manager of Children by Choice, a nonprofit that helps women navigate unplanned pregnancies. “This is certainly the first time we’ve seen female leaders on both sides of the policy.”

Andrea Dew Steele, founder and president of Emerge America, had a blog in Ms Magazine about the midterms and beyond - read the full piece - here is a snippet:

We must lay the groundwork for women to continue running for office. Our strategy must be to turn this wave into a lasting movement, to build the bench and fill the pipeline with qualified, well-trained women who have the skills needed to run—and win. If we make that investment now, we’ll be reaping the benefits of the collaborative, effective leadership of women for decades to come.

It doesn’t end in November. When this midterm moment is over, our movement continues.

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Very exciting news from Ethiopia this week where the reformer prime minister Abiy Ahmed established gender parity in his cabinet among other reforms according to this story in the Washington Post:

Ethiopia’s reformist prime minister announced Tuesday a new cabinet that is half female, in an unprecedented push for gender parity in Africa’s second-most-populous nation.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has marked his nearly seven months in office with staggering reforms for this once authoritarian country, notably releasing thousands of political prisoners, making peace with Ethiopia’s main enemy, Eritrea, and promising to open up the economy.

The new cabinet, which reduces ministerial positions from 28 to 20, has women in the top security posts for the first time in Ethiopia’s history. Aisha Mohammed will be in charge of defense, and Muferiat Kamil, a former parliamentary speaker, will head the newly formed Ministry of Peace.

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(Ranked choice beer elections are being held around this country this fall!)
Finally, there were several strong pieces in support of ranked choice voting for those of you who are interested in the fast-evolving debate about the future of democracy. The Boston Globe Magazine published an expansive piece on ranked choice voting, while the Baltimore Sun called for RCV in Maryland, on Vox: Ezra Klein opines about the 'rigging of American politics', and Matthew Yglesias writes that Proportional Representation Could Save America (a sentiment that seems to be growing).
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The film Represent that follows the lives and campaigns of three women running for office was featured in this story in Newsy - you can support this terrific narrative with a gift to their Kickstarter campaign - they are aiming to raise $9,000 in the next two weeks!
All the warmest wishes for a restful weekend,
Cynthia
P.S. Here are a few things to listen to/watch this weekend:
  • A terrific story  on the use of gender quotas around the world and in the US on NPR's affiliate KBIA that featured Jennifer Piscopo, Ana Catalano Weeks, Tendai Marima, & Asa Eriksson.
  • A video that explores why the US is behind when it comes to women in politics which features RepresentWomen's research & analysis
  • A speech by actress Natalie Portman on 'How to Topple the Patriarchy'
  • A campaign ad featuring Jennifer Lawrence in support of ranked choice voting in Memphis
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