Harnessing Women’s Power for a Stronger Democracy: Solutions Summit to Take Place March 5-7

The Democracy Solutions Summit provides a space to confront biases that can hold women back—both in how voters perceive them and their leadership in the democracy reform space.

Every election cycle, we find ourselves asking the same questions: Why are so few women in office? How do we close the representation gap? And how can we include more women in the work to build a stronger democracy? The Democracy Solutions Summit, hosted by RepresentWomen, provides a unique forum to address these challenges head-on. (Register here!)

The facts are stark: Women hold fewer than a third of seats in Congress and state legislatures nationwide. This isn’t just a numbers issue; it’s a symptom of a system still stacked against women. Women face unique obstacles from unconscious bias to structural barriers when running for office.

Years ago, on a Monday morning staff call, fueled by a frustration with a  reform movement led largely by men and a surge of optimism, I said, “Why not create our own democracy summit?” It resonated with a profound sense of timeliness and a determination to carve a new path in a system resistant to progress. It was time women led the conversation on American democracy. Women possess a wealth of expertise and a unique understanding of the challenges we face in the political arena. Our perspectives on solutions warrant serious consideration as we strive to build a more representative democracy.

The Democracy Solutions Summit brings together women experts, advocates and elected officials to share promising solutions. This isn’t about abstract theory—it’s about actionable reforms and solutions that can break down barriers and open doors for women candidates and leaders across the political spectrum. This includes implementing ranked-choice voting to empower more diverse voices, supporting fair election administration, and establishing public funding for campaigns to level the playing field.

But it’s not just about systems—it’s about changing mindsets.

The Democracy Solutions Summit provides a space to confront biases that can hold women back—both in how voters perceive them and their leadership in the democracy reform space. It’s about showcasing role models and fostering the kind of partners and allies network to help more women see themselves in positions of power as thought leaders.

We created the Women Experts in Democracy Directory after the first Democracy Solutions Summit to make it easy to find women experts for panels, boards and events.

The benefits of greater representation are undeniable. Studies show that women in government bring different perspectives to issues like healthcare, education and economic justice—perspectives that reflect the lived experiences of half the population. A more representative democracy is a more responsive democracy.

I urge everyone who cares about the future of our country to attend the Democracy Solutions Summit from 3 to 5 p.m. EST, March 5-7. This three-day virtual event is free for all to attend. It’s more than an event; it’s an opportunity to be part of the solution. By supporting women experts and advocating for the reforms that will make a difference, we can build a democracy that truly represents us all.

Register here.


Day One: The State of Ranked-Choice Voting

Ranked-choice voting is the fastest-growing election reform in the nation and, with two statewide and several municipal ballot measures happening this year, 2024 is the biggest year yet for ranked choice voting.


Day Two: Madam President—Strategies to Elect our First Woman President

Despite women breaking barriers every year since the beginning of time, some nations, including the United States, still have never had a woman head of state. In the thick of primaries season with the general presidential election approaching, what a perfect time to ask ourselves why that is and how we can change that.


Day Three: Shifting the Paradigms of Power – A Global Movement

Now more than ever, people around the world are challenging the status quo and demanding a new way of governing that doesn’t involve binary choices, zero-sum thinking and aggressive competition. In celebration of International Women’s Day, the third and final day of the Democracy Solutions Summit is focused on women’s leadership around the world. 

Up next:

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Cynthia Richie Terrell is the founder and executive director of RepresentWomen and a founding board member of the ReflectUS coalition of non-partisan women’s representation organizations. Terrell is an outspoken advocate for innovative rules and systems reforms to advance women’s representation and leadership in the United States. Terrell and her husband Rob Richie helped to found FairVote—a nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms that give voters greater choice, a stronger voice and a truly representative democracy. Terrell has worked on projects related to women's representation, voting system reform and democracy in the United States and abroad.