-Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Even after winning elected office, women continue to face more barriers than their male colleagues when it comes to serving effectively and rising through the ranks into leadership positions. Concerted efforts must be taken by elected officials and those with hiring power to ensure women's voices are included at the highest levels.
Below are suggestions on how to dismantle these barriers for women in elected office.
RepresentWomen is working with a team to advance the Rankin-Chisholm Rule. Among the top congressional staffer positions, women and people of color continue to be underrepresented. The Rankin-Chisholm Rule is a policy initiative designed to correct this systemic problem and increase racial and gender diversity in legislative offices, particularly in leadership roles.
The Rankin-Chisholm Rule states: “The decision-maker for top staff positions in personal offices, on committees, and in caucus leadership offices should conduct an in-person interview with a slate of candidates from diverse perspectives and backgrounds on the basis of gender, race and other factors, including multiple women and people of color.”
The Rankin-Chisholm Rule is modeled after the Rooney Rule, which requires National Football League owners to interview at least one candidate of color for each head coach or general manager vacancy. The initiative is named after pioneering members of Congress Jeannette Rankin and Shirley Chisholm.
Elected officials have a profound power to increase the gender and racial diversity in leadership positions through gender balanced appointments and replacement mandates. Committing to diverse appointments to executive cabinets, commissions and vacancies is the fastest way to increase the diversity of our decision-making leaders.
Presidential and gubernatorial candidates should commit to naming gender balanced and diverse executive cabinets. Fifteen countries, including the United States have nominated gender balanced cabinets; many in a concerted effort to include women's voices at the leadership level.
As vacancies in elected and appointed positions occur, officials should commit to and uphold replacement mandates, taking gender diversity into consideration when making appointments to fill vacant positions.
Our partners in advocating for diversity and inclusion in appointed positions include: Inclusive America