October 29, 2019
From the nation's leading source on all things women and politics.
# BlackWomenLead Congress 
Next week, CAWP's visiting practitioner, Kimberly Peeler-Allen, will speak at the Eagleton Institute of Politics as part of the institute's Albert W. Lewitt Endowed Lecture series. Her talk, #BlackWomenLead Congress: The Difference They Make and the Road They Took to Get There, draws on her work as a founder of Higher Heights, an organization devoted to electing Black women to public office, to tell a story about the increased number of Black women serving in Congress and how their presence shifts legislative priorities.

Peeler-Allen recently wrote on CAWP's Election Watch blog about the women and the presidency and how women and women of color grapple with questions of electability and viability in a traditionally White, male space. Read the piece here.

This event will take place on Thursday, November 7th at the Eagleton Institute of Politics and starts at 7 pm. It is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

The Albert W. Lewitt Endowed Lecture was established by Mrs. Benjamin Leon in memory of her brother, who worked on Capitol Hill in the 1940s, first on the staff of Senator W. Warren Barbour and later for Senator Albert W. Hawkes. The talk has a special focus on issues related to the US Congress. Learn more about here.
Updated Numbers for the 116th Congress
Over the weekend, freshman Rep. Katie Hill announced she would resign her seat in the House following the revelation of an intimate relationship with a campaign staffer, which she has confirmed, as well as accusations of a separate relationship with a legislative aide, which Hill continues to deny. After her resignation takes effect, which is expected this coming Friday, the updated numbers for women's representation in the 116th Congress will be:

House: 101 (88D, 13R), 23.2% of 435 seats
Senate (unchanged): 25 (17D, 8R), 25% of 100 seats
Full Congress: 126 (105D, 21R), 23.6% of 535 seats

In the course of the unspooling of the scandal, intimate photos of Hill were released, purportedly by her estranged husband, and disseminated by conservative media. In her letter announcing her resignation ,   Hill acknowledges mistakes and said she would devote herself to fighting against this sort of revenge porn: "Now, my fight is going to be to defeat this type of exploitation that so many women are victims to and which will keep countless women and girls from running for office or entering public light."

A special election to fill the seat is expected in the spring.
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News from the Trail
ABC reported on Senator Elizabeth Warren being targeted in the fourth debate, and they spoke to Kelly Dittmar about gender and campaigning, as well as the impacts of political attacks and media criticism on women candidates: "The expectation of who is both capable and likely to lead in presidential office has historically been associated, not only just with men, but with white men. Candidates have had to do additional labor to push back against those expectations."

Fortune reported on Mayor Pete Buttigieg's women's rights agenda, which includes a commitment that 50% of his cabinet and judicial nominees would be women. The outlet spoke to Debbie Walsh for the piece, who talked about cabinet parity: "It's critical that when those behind-the-scenes meetings are taking place that women are at the table."

Last week, Representative Elise Stefanik announced the first 11 Republican women that her Elevate PAC will back in the 2020 elections, including candidates in California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, New York, South Carolina, and Texas, as well as an additional 19 women to watch in the cycle. As Roll Call reports, despite a relatively limited amount of direct support, Stefanik's support could signal to the Republican party and conservatives that these candidates are serious contenders that merit further assistance.

Marie Claire followed some of the record-number of women senior staffers running presidential campaigns in election 2020 for a story about both their roles and their lives as they manage a fast-paced work environment.

USA Today writes about the California legislature, which is set to break its record for the number of women state legislators with a special election for a vacant Assembly seat being contested in a run-off between two women. California currently ranks 20th in our Women in State Legislatures 2019 state rankings.

Presidential candidate and U.S. House member Tulsi Gabbard entered into a feud with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after Clinton referred to Russian botnet support of the Gabbard bid, as well as her belief that Gabbard would launch a third-party bid for the presidency. Gabbard used the opportunity to launch a fundraising campaign and gained a great deal of attention in conservative media. Gabbard later announced that she would not seek re-election to her House seat, further fueling speculation that she was considering an outsider run for president.
There is Always a Debate
Two weeks ago, the candidates in the Democratic presidential primary met for the fourth debate in Westerville, Ohio, and many of the candidates took the opportunity to assail Elizabeth Warren, cementing her status as a frontrunner in the race. In The New York Times' post-debate expert analysis, comments from CAWP scholar Kelly Dittmar during our live-tweet of the debate were quoted more than once. To browse analysis from the CAWP crew and our friends and colleagues, head to #GenderLens2020.

NBC announced recently that the upcoming fifth presidential debate on November 20th will be moderated by an all-women team of journalists, Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, Ashley Parker, and Kristen Welker. As Dittmar writes in CAWP's debate-watching guide, paying attention to moderators and how they frame questions and guide the conversation is a key element of viewing the discussion through a gender lens, so an all-woman moderating team will be a new and interesting element for the 2020 debates. 
Grace Goes to Washington and to Statehouses Around the Country!
Four years ago, we launched the Teach a Girl to Lead® Reading Project with the goal of making women in public leadership visible to the next generation. We want to inspire girls in grades K-4 to follow in the footsteps of women leaders like you and help boys grow up with more inclusive ideas about who can lead.

This year, we sent every elected woman legislator, member of Congress, governor, and statewide elected official a copy of Grace Goes to Washington. We chose this book because it provides an easily understandable overview of the three branches of government, illustrates checks and balances in an accessible and fun way, highlights girls and women in public leadership, and teaches elementary-age children the value of kindness, courage, and independent thought.

We're thrilled to report that we've already gotten some response! Connecticut State Representative Jillian Gilchrist tweeted that she took the new book on a test run with her own daughter in preparation for a future visit to an elementary school in her district!
Pelosi Moment
Following a contentious meeting about President Trump's Syria policy, the president released a picture of Nancy Pelosi at the meeting in an attempt to cast her as having a meltdown. The plan...backfired. The image of Pelosi, a woman alone standing in a room full of men appearing to castigate the president went ultra-viral and Pelosi almost immediately made it her Twitter cover photo. The Washington Post spoke to Kelly Dittmar about the optics of the moment: "Any woman knows what it's like to be the only woman in the room, so having it not only be an image where she's just one woman alone at the table, but also where she is clearly engaged in a conversation in which she's taking the lead in the conversation, that's indicative of power."
Around the World 
In Colombia, Bogota has elected its first woman mayor as well as its first out lesbian mayor in Claudia L ópez, who ran on an anti-corruption and anti-inequality platform. Read more at The Washington Post . Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that Belgium will have its first woman prime minister, with Sophie Wilm ès being named head of the country's next caretaker government while the Belgian Parliament remains divided.

In Other News
Following the passing of Representative Elijah Cummings,  Maryland Matters interviewed Debbie Walsh about the practice of widows succeeding their husbands in office. Walsh noted Maya Rockeymoore Cummings's already deep political experience, saying "The thing about Elijah Cummings' widow is that she might be considered a potential candidate even if she weren't his widow."

In local news, The Jackson Hole News & Guide does an overview of women's representation in Wyoming, the state the refused statehood if women weren't allowed to vote, and uses CAWP data to tell the story. They also spoke with Kelly Dittmar about the 2018 elections and how they impacted women's representation at all levels.

For Medium's Gen, Jill Filipovic writes about the Katie Hill saga, and, while she doesn't excuse Hill's behavior, she notes the disparate treatments of sexual scandals for men and women in politics. The piece mostly focuses, however, on the dangerous new development in this story: revenge porn entering the political arena. "Publishing sexualized photos of a U.S. congresswoman to facilitate her former partner's revenge fantasy crossed a bright line," she writes, "If nothing else, this moment should push legislators all over the country to institute stiffer penalties for revenge porn - both for those who release these photos and for those who publish them."

In our recent report, Unfinished Business: Women Running in 2018 and Beyond,  we detail the persistently high levels of violence and harassment directed at women who enter politics, and much of these threats of violence an harassment are sexualized in nature. As women make their personal calculations in deciding to run for office, this heightened sense of potential threat may have a dampening effect on women's political ambitions. With her intimate and supposedly private images leaked to media and broadcast worldwide, what will what happened to Katie Hill affect women considering a political future?
CAWP Calendar

Center for American Women and Politics
Eagleton Institute of Politics
Rutgers University | New Brunswick
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