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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation September 9, 2016


Dear all,

Jane Addams celebrated a birthday this week - born in 1860, Addams was a suffragist and founder of Hull House in Chicago. She became the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 and, in 1982, was the topic for my (successful) college application essay on who I'd like to have dinner with! She has always been an inspiration to me.

Phyllis Schlafly's death this week was a reminder that women's perspectives and opinions are varied and often complicated. Schlafly's opposition to the ERA was legendary but it became very personal for me in 1992 - the year I ran a campaign for a statewide ERA in Iowa. Pat Robertson and Phyllis Schlafly teamed up to run a campaign of lies and distortions against the effort which led to a terrifying but ultimately very satisfying debate between me and Ralph Reed on Larry King Live. You can get a flavor of that year in my life in the article below "Anti-abortion foes claim win" - amidst the coverage of a Springsteen concert and a new Clinton presidency.


Of course another Clinton is on the ballot this year. Ruth Marcus has a very interesting piece in the Washington Post: Turmp and Priebus's sexism show the challenges Clinton will face - even if she wins.

Earlier this summer, I shared an early draft of a report on research by Dr. Sarah John and others at FairVote on the impact of ranked choice voting on the representation of women and people of color. This work was made possible by a grant from the Women Donors Network's Reflective Democracy Campaign. We now have published our final version - here is a teaser from the summary:

This study examines the effect of ranked choice voting (RCV) on women and people of color running for elected office in the California Bay Area. San Francisco began using ranked choice voting in 2004 for their city elections, followed by Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro in 2010. The findings of the study reveal that RCV increases descriptive representation for women, people of color, and women of color. Some reasons for RCV’s positive effects can be related to how often it replaces low, unrepresentative, turnout elections and that it allows for multiple candidates appealing to the same community to run without splitting the vote. The unambiguously positive impact of RCV on descriptive representation encourages further study.

Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World issued a call for papers this week on Gender in the 2016 Elections - the deadline for submission is January 15, 2017.
While there are lots of ways to measure women's equality this story from the Union City Patch offers a quirky set of criteria which lands Hawaii, Alaska, Maine, California, and Vermont in the top 5. The Institute for Women's Policy Research uses somewhat different criteria in their Best and Worst States Overall for Women in 2015 while Rep2020 focuses on women's political representation in our Gender Parity Index ranking.
I will be in California next week where we are hosting an event on Tuesday, September 13th in Half Moon Bay and Wednesday, September 14th in SF to welcome our two new FairVote/Representation2020 California staffers Jenn Pae and Pedro Hernandez and report on efforts to pass ranked choice voting in Maine which is on the ballot there this November!

There are a number of events coming up including:
  • AAUW's Open House on September 21st

VoteRunLead is partnering this week and next with Gender Equality Political Leadership Education - Erin Vilardi reports that:

GEPLE heads to Philadelphia to The William Way LGBT Community Center, and then off to Pipeline Philly to connect with, Philadelphia 3.0,, and local elected officials.We finish our trip in DC hosted by National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, Facebook Elections, New America, Solid Grounds Strategy, and Representation2020. (A special thanks to the NHLA for inviting us to be a part of their 25th Anniversary Celebration!

And finally, I attended the 10th anniversary celebration of MomsRising last night and am in awe of all that they have accomplished - working to organize moms across the country to pass critically important legislation. Congratulations to the staff, board, volunteers, and caped honorees!


I hope this video will make you smile.

Have a great weekend!



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