Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation is a compilation of stories about women’s representation in politics, on boards, in sports and entertainment, in judicial offices and in the private sector in the U.S. and around the world—with a little gardening and goodwill mixed in for refreshment!
As we continue celebrating Women’s History Month this week, we focus on past and present women leaders in politics and other fields.
New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes on the Importance of Women’s Representation
2021 was a ceiling-shattering year for New York. New York City’s council comprised a majority of women and a majority of women of color, and the state elected its first woman governor, Kathy Hochul.
In honor of Women’s History Month, New York Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes reflected on how women govern differently. For Peoples-Stokes, Hochul’s win is “an indication of what the potential is for women to serve in all capacities in life.”
Although the New York Assembly is still far from gender parity with only 33 percent women legislators, Peoples-Stokes makes clear that having a significant number of women present in decision-making circles makes a difference that benefits all.
Peoples-Stokes also spoke to the upcoming Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum, the first of its kind, and how this museum will show young women that “there is nothing they cannot accomplish in America.”
Further, she points out that most of the committee chairs in the State Assembly are women. Peoples-Stokes also spoke about women’s methods of communication.
I think we do communicate somewhat different. We are willing to listen to everyone’s opinion, we’re not so steadfast on everything needing to be our way. We are willing to bring compromise to the table, bring conversation to the table that moves issues forward. …
We take care of familles, we take care of communities, we take care of people and we do no different in our roles in leadership in the legislative and executive branches of government.
The Women Behind The Montgomery Bus Boycott
Male civil rights leaders are more honored and remembered in history than female civil rights leaders. Other than Rosa Parks, almost no women civil rights leaders are mentioned in the history books. Check out this fantastic podcast by NPR about 15 women who were key figures in the Montgomery bus boycott.
The Montgomery bus boycott lasted from December of 1955 through December of 1956. What people often remember of that moment in history is that when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, it sparked a bus boycott that was led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But what that retelling leaves out are all the women who organized for years to make that boycott a reality and who helped sustain it for 13 long months.
USPS Unveils New Forever Stamp Featuring Toni Morrison
Last week, The United States Postal Service announced that they would feature American writer Toni Morrison on a new forever stamp at an unveiling ceremony at Princeton University. Toni Morrison was a brilliant author; her solidified legacy is well deserved. RepresentWomen is delighted to see more women leaders featured in institutions like USPS. You can purchase the new stamp here.
Morrison, one of the most influential modern American writers, was a professor at Princeton for almost 20 years, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the Nobel Prize in Literature before she passed away in 2019 at he age of 88. Through spellbinding and lyrical prose, she explored the lives of Black Americans, a group of people who were largely overlooked in literature at the time her books were published.
She Should Run Releases ‘Group Chat Issues’ Report
This week, our incredible partners at She Should Run, an organization working to increase the number of women running for public office, released their “Group Chat Issues” report that dives into what motivates women to consider running for office:
“If we want to eliminate the very real political ambition gap between men and women and flood the candidate pool with women who represent the full and beautiful diversity of perspective and life experience of this country, we simply must engage more women in the process,” said She Should Run Founder and CEO, Erin Loos Cutraro. “The research is clear that in order to do that, we must meet women where they are on the issues that matter to them most. In developing the ‘Group Chat Issues’ report, we’ve gained insight into what those issues are and how best to empower women from all walks of life to take action.”
Our research surveyed over 400 women aged 18-75 across geographic regions and party affiliations to develop an understanding of the data about women running for office, Gen Z’s view on politics, and what motivates women to consider elected leadership. Cross-referencing our own data with YWCA USA and UN Women studies, the data revealed:
*The majority of women are motivated by issues that disproportionately affect them. These include the Economy, Climate Change, Reproductive Health, Racism, and Gun Violence. Women are most likely to take action on issues related to children, health, education, and poverty.
*22.4% (or 24.4 Million) of adult women in the US are primed to take action and be motivated to seek elected office, creating a large addressable market to increase women’s representation in government.
7*0%+ of women considering running for office discuss current issues on social media.
Why the U.S. Has Yet to Elect a Women President
An article from Yahoo News highlights the systematic barriers that women face when running for office in the United States. While women have led other counties like Canada, the U.K., and France, the U.S. is still behind. Countries that women have led have better systems for getting women elected.
RepresentWomen’s communications director Laura Carns and I wrote an op-ed for Ms. magazine on why it is past time for a women president; read it here.
“One of the major differences between the U.S. and other countries that have elected a woman as head of state is that some countries have gender quotas, says Nadia E. Brown, a political science professor at Georgetown University. These quotas are intended to boost representation in political systems where women are historically underrepresented.
Brown told theGrio these quotas “allow women to be elected to national positions,” adding, “the population just doesn’t think about women as being incapable to lead in the way that the United States does.”
She continued, “Some of these things are structural that the United States could put into place, and then others are cultural. Because we don’t have those structures in place, we fall back on cultural norms [and] gender socialization that really remove women from top leadership positions.”
What better way to celebrate Women’s History Month than to donate to organizations that support women? RepresentWomen is dedicated to providing data-driven solutions to increasing women’s representation. If you would like to support our work, please consider donating.
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