August 06, 2019
From the nation's leading source on all things women and politics.
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CAWP Staff Pooja Prabhakaran, Jean Sinzdak,  Debbie Walsh, and Chelsea Hill
This week, CAWP is at the National Conference of State Legislatures' Legislative Summit in Nashville, where we are sharing our data on women in state legislatures, promoting our Teach a Girl to Lead® reading program, co-hosting and attending events in the Women's Legislative Network track, and convincing conference keynoter Dolly Parton to come work at CAWP.

This morning, we co-hosted a panel discussion, Supporting the Next Generation of Female Leaders, featuring panelists Kelly DiPucchio, author of Grace for President and Grace Goes to Washington, Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University, and Tennessee Representative Karen Camper, and moderated by our own Jean Sinzdak. Panelists discussed the latest research on the civic engagement of girls and young women; the value of children's literature as a vehicle for teaching kids about government and democracy; and a legislator's experience with our Teach a Girl to Lead® reading program. They also discussed how to advance young women's political engagement and inspire girls to follow in the footsteps of women legislators.

On Wednesday, CAWP director Debbie Walsh will be a panelist on The Changing Demographics of State Legislatures.

Want to meet the people that make the CAWP programs and research you love possible? Find the CAWP crew at booth 214.

Debate Round-Up
The second Democratic presidential primary debates were last week, and they were a contentious pair of evenings, with all the candidates seeking to distinguish themselves. On night two, Kamala Harris, whose rise in polling following the first debate put a spotlight on her, came in for some sharp questioning from her fellow candidates, with Tulsi Gabbard in particular zeroing in on Harris's career as a prosecutor for a pointed critique. Policy aside, this exchange between Harris and Gabbard gave voters an image of a presidential campaign that would have been unthinkable not so long ago: two women of color, with disparate backgrounds and ideologies, in debate with one another as they both seek the highest office in the country.

Speaking of women of color...10% of the candidates on the debate stage last week were women of color. That's a welcome change. What's not so great is that, of the eight moderators to appear over the two rounds of debates so far, zero have been women of color. Our friend Glynda Carr from Higher Heights for America writes on Medium about what is lost when women of color are missing from the moderators' table: "Black women have been at the vanguard of efforts to address and bring America's urgent issues to the fore. But even as our voices and actions are speaking to the concerns of everyday Americans...our sensibilities are conspicuously missing from those shaping what's being addressed on the debate stage." A s Kelly Dittmar lays out in her post,  Debate Watching with a Gender Lens , moderators have a great deal of influence over what is discussed and how, so excluding women of color from that table means a critical perspective is silenced.The third presidential debate will be in September, hosted by ABC News on the campus of Texas Southern University, an HBCU in Houston. Let's hope ABC takes the opportunity to expand the perspectives we see guiding the conversation and, in turn, the conversation itself.
2020 vs 2018
We took a snapshot of our data about women running for House races in 2020 and compared those numbers to the same time period leading up to the 2018 election. Compared to this point in the last election cycle, 45 more women are preparing campaigns for House seats; at this point in 2017, we counted 274 potential women House candidates, while thus far this year we've counted 319. A great deal of this increase has come from the Republican side of the aisle. These numbers are very encouraging, but with some caveats. First, GOP women are still vastly outnumbered by their Democratic counterparts, even with a (very slight) decline in the number of Democratic women eyeing House seats. Secondly, Martha Roby of Alabama just announced she won't seek re-election in 2020, so with Roby and Susan Brooks both stepping down at the end of this term, that leaves only 11 incumbent House Republican women running for re-election next year. Incumbency is one of the most powerful factors in electoral success, and with only 11 women with incumbency on their side, the GOP still faces an uphill battle in increasing women's representation in their House caucus.
Rebound Candidates
As part of our Election Watch candidate tracking, we've been keeping tabs on women who lost races in the 2018 midterms who are gearing up to run again in 2020. Back in May, we posted on our blog about some of the women taking another chance on electoral success, from former incumbents seeking their previous seats, like Karen Handel, to candidates like Amy McGrath who are running for different offices altogether. In May we counted 43 rebound candidates, but, as of August, this number is up to 63. The women of Texas are leading the way in getting back in the mix after an electoral loss, with 11 Texans looking to run again in 2020, including Gina Ortiz Jones, whose 2018 campaign against Rep. Will Hurd ended in defeat; Hurd is not running for re-election in 2020. You can see our list of potential 2020 rebound candidates here, and our full list of all potential 2020 candidates for Senate, House, and statewide elected executive offices here.
News from the Trail
Kelly Dittmar did a sprint through media coverage of the presidential campaign recently, speaking to Bustle about the diversity changing the conversations in the debates; to the AP about the potential ramifications of Trump losing the valuable suburban women's vote; to WGBH about the 2020 campaigns hiring women into key staffing roles and ensuring they receive equal pay; and to Vox about how "electability" becomes an additional burden for women candidates, as they have to prove to voters both why they should win office and that they can win at all.
2020 is going to be a big year for women and politics.
Be a part of the team.
Oration Station
Think you're ready to run for office? What about all that talking in front of people, though? You're not alone: seventy-five percent of women report that they have anxiety about giving speeches or presentations; join our Ready to Run® public speaking workshop on September 6, 2019 to learn how to deliver your message more powerfully and how to identify your authentic style, along with specific tools and strategies for managing speech anxiety and becoming an effective communicator. This interactive workshop, designed with women in mind, will be led by Karla M. Jackson, founder of Sine Qua Non: Allies in Healing, an integrative therapy practice in New York City, and an adjunct professor in the Women's and Gender Studies Department and the Africana Studies Department at Rutgers.

Equality Can't Wait
According to World Economic Forum projections, it will take 208 years before women realize gender equality in the United States, based on current rates of progress. With this figure in mind, Melinda Gates has started a new initiative,  Equality Can't Wait , that focuses attention on gender disparities with an aim to achieve equality in our lifetimes. Their launch video brings together an incredible roster of comedians, actors, writers, and musicians (Maya Rudolph! Carol Burnett! Natasha Rothwell!) to start a conversation about gender inequality and encourages viewers to keep that conversation going in their own lives and on social media via  #EqualityCantWait .

New Eagleton Poll Results on Gender Views
Our colleagues at the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, along with their partners at Farleigh Dickinson University Polling, published new results about how New Jerseyans view gender traits. In many respects, those views have evolved away from stereotypes, with majorities viewing traits like intelligence, management skills, ethical behavior, manipulative behavior, and self-centeredness as being de-coupled from gender. On the other hand, majorities of New Jerseyans still see women as more compassionate and emotional, while they see men as more aggressive and as more likely to be risk-takers. You can read about this new polling data and see full results  here .

When Women Lead
New research from our friends at Rachel's Network concludes that women in Congress are more likely to support policies that support the environment. The report, titled  When Women Lead , relies on scores produced by the League of Conservation Voters on congress members' records on environmental legislation and finds that women in the House have an average LCV score of 70, compared to 43 for men, while in the Senate the average score for women is 71, compared to 46 for men. In a press release , Rachel's Network Board Chair Kef Kasdin says, "These numbers bolster the data Rachel's Network has previously reported going back to 1983. Time and again the implications are clear: if you care about the environment, you must elect more women to office." You can read their full report here .

The Washingtonian
CAWP recently welcomed back our associate director, Jean Sinzdak, from a sojourn in Seattle, but the Emerald City keeps trying to lure her back. KNKX spoke to Sinzdak about the Washington State House's Democratic caucus elections, in which four women competed for party leader and presumptive Speaker of the Washington House. In the end, Rep. Laurie Jenkins won the contest and will become the first woman, and first out lesbian, to assume the speakership in Washington. Meanwhile, The Stranger interviewed Sinzdak for a piece about the Seattle city council, where two of nine members are currently pregnant, with Sinzdak stressing that governing while pregnant will give these women the perspective on what needs to change and the power to change it.

Leaning In
Lean In has launched an initiative to identify gender-based bias in the political world with a new video and infographic that briefly summarizes the additional obstacles women face when they run for office. The organization has also started a social campaign using the hashtag #GetOutTheBias that encourages people to identify bias when they see it and call it out. When paired with CAWP's guide to debate viewing, this campaign is a very useful way to hone in on how conscious and unconscious bias shape political conversations. president and co-founder Rachel Thomas also penned an op-ed for Marie Claire that explores the ways that having a diverse array of women running for president is altering the 2020 campaign.

Campaigning with Kids
New developments in the drive to allow campaign funds to be used for childcare expenses: thanks to a request from the M.J. Hegar for U.S. Senate campaign, the  FEC will allow candidates to pay for pre-existing childcare services that now allow the candidate to participate in campaign events. In a previous ruling related to Liuba Grechen Shirley's 2018 campaign, the FEC allowed her to use campaign funds to pay for  newly acquired childcare services related to the campaign. Kelly Dittmar spoke to The Atlantic  about this new determination, telling the magazine that candidates are the face of a campaign, and a punishing schedule requiring in-person appearances makes campaign-related childcare expenses unavoidable for parents that run for office. Meanwhile, the New Jersey legislature is working on a bill that would follow other states in allowing campaign funds to be used for childcare, and New Jersey 101.5  spoke to Jean Sinzdak about how legislation like this would remove one more obstacle standing in the way of parents, but women in particular, running for office.
CAWP Calendar

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