Women Have Always Been the Heart of the Climate Change Movement: Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation


Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation is a compilation of tales about girls’s illustration in politics, on boards, in sports activities and leisure, in judicial workplaces and within the non-public sector within the U.S. and world wide—with a little bit gardening and goodwill blended in for refreshment!

The primary Earth Day was celebrated 52 years in the past and was meant to lift consciousness about threats to the atmosphere in america, since then the day has grown to incorporate requires motion to handle a altering local weather across the globe. Girls have all the time been on the coronary heart of the motion, from Rachel Carson, whose seminal work Silent Spring launched generations of lawmakers to the risks of pesticides, to Greta Thunberg, whose local weather activism has challenged world leaders to work more durable to guard the planet, to younger girls like my daughter Becca Richie, whose work with Climate Clock supplies a transparent and pressing timetable for motion.

Thousands and thousands of girls are leaders of their communities on local weather points, listed here are some of their stories as advised by Candace Helfand-Rogers:

Local weather change is actual, and it’s right here. Fortunately, so are girls.

Different main world occasions have been dominating our headlines not too long ago  – specifically the continuing conflict in Ukraine and the worldwide pandemic that’s surging as soon as extra. However international warming is already at our doorsteps, and desperately wants our consideration — and motion — as nicely. A current United Nations report grimly states that we’re “firmly on monitor towards an unlivable world.” Erratic climate patterns, wildfires, hurricanes and floods are already exhibiting us shades of what that world will appear to be.

Whereas our governments appear sidetracked, abnormal residents, elected officers and organizations world wide proceed to sound the alarm. People like these at Extinction Rebellion interact in common acts of civil disobedience all through the world to attract consideration to the issue at massive, with teams just like the Local weather Emergency Fund funneling cash towards such efforts. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has sponsored a Inexperienced New Deal – a broad public coverage proposal crafted by Rhiana Gunn-Wright that seeks to handle local weather change from a number of instructions. Activists like Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate have created main  platforms of their very own and impressed a technology of younger eco-warriors.

Girls are sometimes front-and-center in these call-outs and actions. That’s why we’re taking time this Earth Day to have fun entrepreneurial girls who’ve devoted their lives, and work, to combating local weather change.

Forty-five girls have served as governor within the historical past of america, together with New York’s Kathy Hochul who was sworn in on August 24, 2021, simply minutes after the previous governor stepped down. Hochul is now working for reelection whereas modeling a brand new model of management in Albany and throughout the state, in accordance with this piece by Jessica Bennett in The New York Instances:

After taking workplace, Ms. Hochul moved shortly to alter the temperature within the Capitol. She transformed Mr. Cuomo’s workplace right into a convention room and changed a sculpture of what she described as “a person beating a horse along with his gun” with suffrage posters and a tribute to Sojourner Fact. And she or he turned up the thermostat greater than 10 levels.

She made extra substantive adjustments, too. She named quite a lot of distinguished girls to her government workers and has appointed extra girls to her cupboard than any governor in New York State historical past. She sat down along with her commissioners, positions that Mr. Cuomo famously micromanaged, telling them: “I don’t want to provide approval for all the things. Deliver me nice concepts. I’ll again you up.” She created an H.R. division for the manager chamber and arrange an nameless sexual harassment hotline. She had listening periods and one-on-one conferences, and usually holds all-staff conferences. She finds “widespread floor,” in accordance with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. She even says “thanks.”

“She’s not a creature of Albany, proper? And that serves her nicely,” mentioned Karen Persichilli Keogh, the secretary to the governor, which is the highest-ranking appointed place within the state. “No disrespect to those that are, however she sees the world very in a different way.”

And but for all of that incremental progress, for all of the recent perspective she might convey to a office or a room, the Benjamin scandal is a reminder that tradition is difficult to alter. One girl can’t remodel New York politics in a single day. The truth that many citizens count on her to is probably much more proof of the precarity of what a feminine politician nonetheless has to endure. Although Mr. Benjamin was mentioned to have “repeatedly lied” in the course of the vetting course of, that won’t matter to voters who merely see a Hochul administration scandal.

And so, Kathy Hochul finds herself one step nearer to the sting of that cup cliff.

(Courtesy of The Girls’s Community)

New York state can be dwelling to The Women’s Network that was based on the campus of Syracuse College and has now unfold to virtually 150 schools and universities throughout america and Canada—learn extra here:

The Girls’s Community is at the moment the most important collegiate girls’s networking group within the nation. Based in 2017 by then-sophomore Jamie Vinick, the unique SU chapter now boasts a membership of dozens of scholars. The 17-member e-board, led by sophomore Jaya Patel, hopes to proceed making a welcoming community {of professional} girls who symbolize a spread of educational and cultural backgrounds at SU.

Patel joined The Girls’s Community the summer time earlier than her freshman yr and first labored as a weblog author that spring. She then served as vp the next fall, which Patel mentioned is when she was impressed to use for presidency after attending to know the totally different board positions lots higher.

Patel mentioned making connections with girls that have been as bold as herself was actually essential to her. Watching then-president Summer season Cerbone at work cemented her resolution to run for the president place.

(Girls in Tech)

Katelyn Fossett, affiliate editor of Politico, wrote a few new report from the Women’s Business Collaborative that tracks one of the best practices to extend girls’s illustration on private and non-private sector boards:

With many ladies nonetheless not returning to work after Covid-19 lockdowns and lots of of them nonetheless reporting excessive numbers of burnout, it may be troublesome to seek out causes to be optimistic concerning the state of girls in enterprise. However right here’s one: A current report from the Girls Enterprise Collaborative (WBC) and 50-50 Girls on Boards discovered that 2021 was a “watershed yr” for ladies on company boards, with the most important ever year-over-year enhance in board seats held by girls amongst firms within the Russell 3000, an index of the three,000 largest publicly held firms integrated in America.

In line with the report, which was launched earlier this month, girls held 27 p.c of board seats at firms on the Russell 3,000 in 2021, up from 24 p.c in 2020. One other signal of progress, in accordance with the report: Black board membership elevated 32 p.c.

Listed here are just a few different takeaways from the report.

Non-public firms fall behind public firms on gender variety. In line with the report, 86 p.c of board director seats at non-public firms are held by males, and 56 p.c of early-stage non-public firms had no girl administrators.

To get extra girls on boards, it’s useful to have a girl CEO. The common proportion of girls on boards of firms with a feminine CEO is 39 p.c, whereas it’s 26 p.c for firms with a male CEO, in accordance with knowledge analyzed by 50/50 Girls on Boards within the report.

Feminine board chairs assist, too. In line with a survey by the Lodis Group, which is included within the report, girls board chairs have a major affect on boards’ gender variety. The survey discovered that boards with a girl chair had 42 p.c girls administrators, in comparison with 24 p.c on boards with a person chair. “A few of the selections that get made concerning the board of administrators can be extra various … as a result of if girls [board chairs] have girls networks, they will say, ‘Oh, I do know a girl right here,’” Gwen Young, COO of WBC, advised me. And there can be advantages not solely to downstream variety, she says, but additionally to the corporate’s backside line. “There’s proof that when you could have extra variety in firm management, earnings will develop, and that’s the identical for having girls on the board,” she mentioned.

State Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, left, and Sen. Manka Dhingra confer on the ground of the Washington state Senate on March 2, 2018. Saldaña and Dhingra are co-deputy majority leaders within the Senate. (Legislative Assist Companies)

Washington state senators Rebecca Saldana and Manka Dhingra co-wrote this piece in The Seattle Instances about their work within the legislature and the significance of inclusive policy-making:

Total, a mere 9.2% of members of Congress are girls of shade.

In state legislatures, that quantity is even decrease — an anemic 8.2%.

These numbers remind us how fragile our progress nonetheless is and the way lengthy a street lies forward earlier than our authorities displays the range of the ruled.

Within the Washington state Senate, the place the 2 of us serve, we’re steadily making progress towards higher illustration. Since 2018, we now have doubled the variety of girls of shade in our ranks twice — from one to 2 in 2018, and from two to 4 in 2019. Since then, we now have welcomed two extra, rising our ranks to 6 of 49 state senators.

Why do these statistics matter? Girls of shade should not simply becoming a member of the Legislature, we’re altering it. As co-deputy majority leaders, we’re altering the dialogue. We’re bringing in a brand new tradition, a newly collaborative and inclusive strategy to a physique that’s steeped in custom and sluggish to alter.

We’re already making a mark on what will get carried out and the way, placing collaboration and inclusion first. Almost 95% of the payments handed within the Legislature this yr have been bipartisan. A mere 17 payments handed on party-line votes. That’s the results of a tradition that begins with listening. Throughout debate on a kind of party-line payments, Senate Minority Chief John Braun mentioned that, even supposing he was not going to vote for the invoice, he appreciated the inclusive course of that had integrated suggestions from each events and reshaped the invoice: “I respect the hassle to seek out some widespread floor, to attempt to enhance the invoice by listening, on this case, throughout the aisle, and I’ll finish with only a easy ‘thanks’ for that effort.”

It doesn’t matter the place the thought comes from: good coverage is sweet coverage.Good governance begins with entry to democracy. In the beginning, a accountable authorities safeguards the sanctity of probably the most basic proper in a democracy: the vote. Provided that everybody has equal entry to the poll field can everybody have equal entry to the halls of energy. When one in all us was elected in a particular election in 2017, and Democrats retook management of our state Senate, the very first thing we did was cross a package deal of legal guidelines that made Washington a nationwide chief in strengthening voting rights — work we now have continued within the following years.

Kyra Wilson has turn out to be the second girl to have been elected chief of the Long Plain First Nation, in accordance with this story:

In line with unofficial outcomes posted on the neighborhood’s web site, Kyra Wilson was elected to the place over the weekend, edging out David Meeches by 12 votes.

The 35-year-old Wilson, a therapist and former social employee, will turn out to be the second girl to carry the function because the Seventies.

“It’s been surreal and the quantity of assist and other people reaching out has been a phenomenal expertise,” Wilson advised World Information. “I really feel honoured to have the ability to sit on this function.”

Wilson says specializing in psychological well being and youngster welfare are a few of her priorities within the function together with getting the neighborhood again to what it means to be Anishinaabe and Dakota.

She says hopes to honour and study from the primary feminine chief, Marlene Peters, in inspiring younger folks.

In line with this piece in The Fulcrumthe vast majority of People assist using ranked-choice voting in federal elections primarily based on a brand new ballot performed by the College of Maryland’s Program for Public Session and Voice of the Folks:

Greater than 60 p.c of People favor utilizing an alternate methodology of casting ballots referred to as ranked-choice voting for federal elections, in accordance with polling knowledge launched Wednesday morning.

RCV, also referred to as an on the spot runoff election, has already been used statewide in Maine, for municipal elections in New York Metropolis and in additional than 40 different jurisdictions. Alaska will use ranked-choice voting for the first-time this summer time in a particular election for a vacant seat within the U.S. Home of Representatives.

Whereas there’s a partisan divide over RCV, with 73 p.c of Democrats and 55 p.c of independents in favor of its use, just about half (49 p.c) of Republicans additionally assist ranked elections, in accordance with the ballot, which was performed by the College of Maryland’s Program for Public Session and Voice of the Folks.

When conducting the survey, pollsters described ranked-choice voting after which introduced arguments for and towards. After taking respondents’ temperature on every of the arguments, they requested a last approve/oppose query, and 61 p.c mentioned they approve of RCV for federal elections with greater than two candidates.

The Girls’s March in New York Metropolis on Oct. 17, 2020. (Erik McGregor / LightRocket by way of Getty Photos)

FairVote’s Rob Richie writes about why he’s a passionate supporter of the Fair Representation Act, on the brand new DemocracySOS platform. (Subscribe to observe the newest information from the world of electoral reform.)

I’ve wished to switch winner-take-all elections in america for greater than three a long time. In 1990, proportional voting already was the worldwide norm amongst established democracies, and almost each rising democracy in Japanese Europe and Latin America was rejecting US-style winner-take-all elections. I wished a politics the place our public debates have been enhanced by having extra voices on the desk, and you possibly can be a part of with like-minded allies to earn a justifiable share of seats grounded within the energy of your concepts: 51% wins a majority, however 20% wins a few fifth of the seats.

At the moment, way more People assist proportional voting. Extra thought leaders acknowledge that almost all of us lose out in right this moment’s sectarian winner-take-all world, one during which the events have entered a loss of life spiral that leaves big issues poorly addressed or fully ignored. The established order is unsustainable.

Peculiar People are prepared for large adjustments too: a U-Maryland nationwide ballot launched this week discovered that 61% of voters favor utilizing ranked selection voting on the whole federal elections, with majority assist in deeply Republicans and deeply Democratic districts.

So what can we do? On April 19, I joined Harvard’s Archon Fung and Danielle Allen and former Utah state legislator Rebecca Chavez Houck for a wealthy dialog headlined Past Winner-Take-All: Potentialities for Proportional Voting in america. You possibly can watch the webinar online. Archon’s first query to me was what type of proportional voting I assist for america. 

My youthful reply would have been Germany’s mixed-member proportional system. As I’d discovered concerning the many types of PR world wide, the German strategy — one that mixes American-style single-seat districts with “compensatory seats” to make sure that general seat shares replicate voters’ celebration preferences — represented a sublime compromise between these looking for native illustration and people wanting celebration equity.

And why not? People had performed an enormous function in establishing mixed-member PR in post-war Germany, and it has taken off as a mannequin in acquainted democracies like New Zealand and Scotland.

That’s why in 1991 I excitedly mailed (no emails but!) my first printed oped on the German system to the venerable Electoral Reform Society in the UK. A couple of weeks later, I obtained a stern letter from Enid Lakeman, the legendary 87-year-old British reform champion. Whereas appreciating my enthusiasm and connection to my nice uncle George Hallett, a pioneer in proportional illustration advocacy (and an excellent topic for a future submit), she chided me for backing Germany’s mannequin. The one type of proportional illustration I ought to assist, she wrote, was the one transferable vote, which the Society had championed because the days of one in all its nice backers, political thinker John Stuart Mill. I confess to some youthful eye-rolling in response.

So what was my reply to Archon this week? Why, that america ought to undertake Enid’s favourite, the one transferable vote – that’s, the proportional type of ranked selection voting, as mirrored in Congressman Don Beyer’s Honest Illustration Act.

I haven’t watched the new show on the First Girls that debuted this week however am trying ahead to it!

Hyacinth, jasmine, fern and viburnum are in bloom in my backyard.

That’s all for this week,

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