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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation September 6, 2019


Women in the northeastern state of Assam in India
Hello friends!
Geetika Dang wrote a terrific piece on for Brookings on several papers that were presented at an event on July on women's political representation in India - I suggest reading her full piece but here is a teaser:
The authors estimate that the introduction of quotas for women in parliament, results in a 9% to 12% decline in maternal mortality. For lower MMR we require trained birth assistance, pre-natal care, and lower teenage pregnancies. As soon as gender quotas are implemented, the authors find a structural break in the following indicators:
  1. Increase in skilled birth attendance (8% to 10%)
  2. Increase in pre-natal care utilisation (6% to11%)
  3. Decline in birth rate
  4. Increase in girls’ education


Swanee Hunt had a terrific piece on on the history of the movement for suffrage:
One of the most telling moments in the history of feminism occurred in 1838, at the Second Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, an integrated meeting. The convention grew out of the correspondence of Maria Weston Chapman, a Boston abolitionist, and Mary Grew of Philadelphia, who had organized a school for black children, and their effort to coordinate the work of female anti-slavery societies.
Inside Pennsylvania Hall in Philadelphia, which had been built under abolitionist auspices and been dedicated only days earlier, 3,000 black and white women met to hear prominent abolitionists like the Grimke sisters, Lucretia Mott and William Lloyd Garrison speak. As men and boys hurled rocks through the windows, the speeches continued, even as they were drowned out by the pack gathered outside, outraged by the racially mixed gathering. The organizers had refused to submit to the mayor's request that the meeting be restricted to white women only. The next day, a mob estimated at 10,000 burned down the hall -- as police and firemen stood by. White and black women delegates linked arms to move through the crowd, and Sarah Pugh, a Philadelphia teacher who was president of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, offered the use of her school room as a place for the convention's closing session....
Today, beyond protesting, women's civic engagement includes running for office. With her candidacy, Hillary Rodham Clinton did indeed drive another stake into the glass ceiling, creating a chasm of a crack -- one through which, two years later, more than 42,000 women have poured. Susan Anthony said her work would not be finished until women held office. Her dream is coming to pass.
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walks near billboards that were vandalized near the entrance to Jerusalem on November 2, 2017. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90/File)
There was a very interesting article by Naomi Chazan in The Times of Israel about the current state women's rights in Israel:

In the second iteration of Israeli general elections this year women have moved from being an object of party persuasion to being a defining subject of the electoral campaign. This dramatic shift is everywhere apparent in heated debates over gender inequities in the military, in education, in health, in the arts, in the workplace, in the media and, needless to say, in political representation. The escalating confrontation over gender separation in publicly-funded gatherings has come to epitomize this change.

The new fascination with gender relations in this electoral round does not derive from any single salient occurrence or from one particular event; it is an outgrowth of more profound issues of exclusion and inclusion, of tensions between universalistic and particularistic values, as well as of the ongoing struggle between liberal democracy and its pseudo-democratic alternatives that mark this election season. The status of women in Israel’s diverse society is proving to be a particularly convenient setting for this confrontation.


Kimberly Teehee is being nominated by Cherokee National Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. as a delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.
NPR had a great piece on Kimberly Teehee's nomination to be a delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives:

The Cherokee Nation has named its first delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. Former Obama appointee Kimberly Teehee's nomination was approved by the tribe's council on Thursday. Although the treaty that created this nonvoting position is almost 200 years old, it had never been filled.

The article outlining the right to a delegate is in the Treaty of New Echota. The 1835 treaty is also the document that led to the Trail of Tears, something that has been top of mind for Teehee. She points out the treaty gave up the Cherokee's homelands and cost the tribe thousands of lives.

"Literally blood, sweat and tears," Teehee said. "We can't ignore that history and what it meant for us to have a provision like that put in place given the devastation that occurred and the deaths that occurred."

The RepresentWomen team has studied the representation of women within Tribal Nation governments - here is a snippet of our work:


Olga Arara-Kimani, Regional Head of Corporate Affairs, Brand & Marketing for Standard Chartered in Africa and the Middle East
There was a very interesting piece on CNBCAfrica by Olga Arara-Kimani on the steps needed to challenge the gender divide in Africa and the Middle East:

In recent years there has been significant improvements towards empowering women in Africa and the Middle East (AME). Despite these steps towards inclusion, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Gender Gap index[1], it will take more than 150 years to close the gender gap between men and women in Africa and the Middle East. The effect of gender divide means women often face barriers and end up in insecure, low-wage jobs, and constitute a small minority of those in senior positions.

The divide hasn’t gone unnoticed. Regional governments are increasingly moving ahead with progressive policies and legislation, whilst Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have been instrumental in providing women with new skills and spurring attitudinal change. A solid foundation has been laid for women to maximise their potential, however government legislation and NGOs will not suffice if we are to truly level the playing field. For this to occur, the private sector must be engaged as a key partner to deliver on female equity...

Achieving gender equality is an important moral principle and acts as a catalyst to other development outcomes such as poverty reduction, well-being and health[1]. Governments and NGO’s have been active in empowering women; however, change will take a collective partnership between government, NGO’s and private enterprise across the region to elevate women to an equal status. The outcome of maximising women’s potential and achieving gender equality will result in greater contributions being made and benefits to the entire region.


There was a great read on Huffington Post by Molly Redden about republican women running for office with terrific quotas from VIEW PAC's Julie Conway:

Rosemary Becchi is exactly who the Republican Party says it’s looking for. 

Becchi (pronounced “Becky”) is running for one of the House seats Democrats snapped up in the blue wave of 2018 and that Republicans are eager to snatch back in 2020. She is a white-collar professional and a mother of three in a wealthy, white suburb where a lot of swing voters share her same background — the kind of woman Republicans say they are desperate to recruit, to speak to the voters they are desperate to win back. 

But when Becchi met with a party official at National Republican Congressional Committee headquarters in Washington, he asked her not to run.

NRCC officials already preferred another Republican in her New Jersey district, he said: Tom Kean Jr., the son of that state’s popular former governor from the ’80s. 

“One of the first things they said to me was, ‘Why don’t you run in a different district?’” Becchi fumed in a recent interview. “Well, guess what? I don’t live in another district.”

This is a time when the GOP supposedly wants more Becchis. In 2018, the forces that made the midterms the Year of the Woman for the Democrats spelled total catastrophe for Republicans. White, suburban women with college degrees fled the party in droves. The bloodletting left only 13 Republican women in the House, a number so low that Mitch McConnell (R), the Senate majority leader and no one’s idea of an equality champion, promised to do “a better job of recruiting women candidates and getting them elected.”


Finally, check out the great review of Caitline Moscatello's new book from The Washington Post:
‘See Jane Win” is a bracing antidote to that dreadful November election night in 2016 when liberal women of the world watched as their champion, so close to shattering the highest glass ceiling, lost to a self-avowed assaulter. As the returns confirmed Hillary Clinton’s loss, I steeled myself with the hope that Arthur Schlesinger’s words would prove prescient: The pendulum swings. And, as author Caitlin Moscatello reveals, it has so proved.
Hope you have a restful weekend,
P.S. The incredible Frieda Edgette - founder of Courage to Run - annouced this week that you can now download the Courage to Run app on iTunes - use this social media kit to help promote the app! is a nice quip from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for all you voting system reform enthusiasts!


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