July 23, 2019
From the nation's leading source on all things women and politics.
Conquer Public Speaking with Ready to Run ®
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.

Register before July 29th to get the early bird registration rate!

Statement from Debbie Walsh
In recent weeks, the president has launched a series of attacks on freshman U.S. representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, attempting to cast them as the face of the Democratic Party while painting them as traitors and, deploying racist language, as outsiders who should go back to their countries At a campaign rally Trump especially focused on Omar which culminated with the crowd chanting, "SEND HER BACK." It was a chilling moment.

In response, CAWP Director Debbie Walsh released the following statement:

For nearly fifty years, the Center for American Women and Politics has studied and analyzed women's political participation in the United States. Research shows that women candidates and politicians already face elevated levels of harassment and threats of violence. This is worse for women of color.

The persistent attacks by the President of the United States on Representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib are dangerous to these women individually, but also amplify the perceived risks to women as candidates and officeholders. Hostility fomented from the White House itself could further dissuade women in both parties from seeking office, dampening women's participation and making party recruitment efforts more difficult.

People of good conscience should condemn this rhetoric.

One bright spot: when Ilhan Omar returned to Minnesota, she was greeted by a throng of cheering supporters.

Numbers Matter. Here's Why.
On Medium, Kelly Dittmar writes about the importance of both accurately tracking data and contextualizing it properly, particularly in how numbers are deployed to construct strategic narratives:

Recent reporting that describes a rise in Republican women's congressional candidacies relies heavily on the National Republican Campaign Committee's (NRCC) calculation of women who have expressed an interest in running for the U.S. House in 2020. That number, close to 200 by their recent count, is far from the 60 Republican women that we have determined as likely to run for the U.S. House based upon filings and/or publicly-stated intentions to run...our attention to numbers matters for setting reasonable expectations. If Republicans tout close to 200 women running in July 2019 and the final count of filed House candidates falls below that in 2020, the narrative will remain one of Republican women falling short. Likewise, if we emphasize raw counts instead of minding denominators that account for men, we risk inflating the sense of success that is possible. However, if the more realistic numbers are reported from the start, any gain in Republican women's candidacies - and officeholding - can be touted as a win come November 2020. [ Full article here .]
Debate Round Two
The second Democratic presidential primary debate has been set for July 30th and 31st on CNN, and last week  the network announced the candidate lineups  in a live draw. Unlike the first debate, this round is structured to guarantee a mix of top-, mid-, and lower-tier candidates through a system whereby the top four candidates are split two and two over the two nights, and the middle six and bottom ten candidates are similarly divided. Here's the lineup:

Night One (7.30.19): Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson, Steve Bullock, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Beto O'Rourke, Tim Ryan, and Bernie Sanders.

Night Two (7.31.19): Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Juli án Castro, Bill De Blasio, Jay Inslee, and Andrew Yang.

Watch the debates on CNN and join our conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #GenderLens2020.
2019 New Jersey County Report Card
This week, CAWP announced the results of its annual county report card for women's representation, scored based on women officeholders in freeholder, mayoral, and council seats. This year, Mercer County is the 2019 New Jersey leader for women's political participation. Somerset County, tied for second place with Union, improved its position dramatically since 2018, jumping from the 19th spot last year following improvements in all three offices used to compile our ranking. Salem County, which lost women mayors, council members, and freeholders (Salem now has zero women freeholders) over the past year, is 2019's lowest-ranked county for women's political representation, dropping from the 13th spot to 21st. As CAWP's Associate Director Jean Sinzdak noted, "There's a great deal of excitement about the successes women candidates had in the 2018 election, as well as the six women in the 2020 presidential field, but it's important to remember that half of the women running for president began their political careers in county and municipal government...The rate of progress towards political parity in New Jersey is too slow, and if we're ever going to get there, it will require buy-in from party leaders on both sides of the aisle in recruiting and supporting women candidates. If you want to see women presidents in the future, support women in local office today."

Our latest county rankings include local council representation (a previous release laid out the 2019 status of women in freeholder and mayoral positions), and Mercer led there as well. Mercer County has 28 women serving on city councils around the county, an increase of three seats over last year, and women make up 41% of 68 city council members in the county. Women hold 837 city council seats in New Jersey in 2019, making up just 27% of all 3,126 city councilors statewide. Women make up more than 30% of members in the top five counties for women's representation on city councils: Mercer, (41%), Hudson (36%), Camden (32%), Somerset (32%), and Essex (32%). No county in the state has come near gender parity in city councils. Two counties, Somerset and Bergen, saw double-digit increases in women city councilors this year, while in five counties - Union, Burlington, Cape May, Salem, and Cumberland - the number of women on city councils dropped. Cumberland is the lowest-ranking county for women's representation on city councils in 2019.

You can read more about this year's report card, and see all tables for women's representation in freeholder, mayoral, and council seats here.
More Election News
In her  New York Times  newsletter,  On Politics ,  Lisa Lerer does a roundup of reactions to the loss of Joan Perry in the primary for the NC-3 congressional district special election and the ongoing struggle in the GOP in recruiting and supporting women candidates.

For The Washington Post, political scientist Regina Bateson shares the results of her research project on "electability," in which she finds that, while electability still defaults to being white and male in many people's perceptions, women and people of color can still promote themselves as electable candidates if they can prove their path to victory to voters. It's one more way that women have to prove their credentials in a way their male counterparts are never asked to, but in the 2020 presidential tussle this might be research to keep in mind.

Also on The Washington Post, Wendy Davis, erstwhile Texas gubernatorial candidate and former state senator known for leading an 11-hour filibuster against a Texas abortion bill, has announced a bid to unseat freshman GOP Representative Chip Roy.
Ms.   criticizes the "trifecta of family, fashion, and food" in media coverage of women candidates, noting how these tropes borrowed from soft magazine profiles can, when trained on a woman running for office, contribute to making her seem less serious than male candidates.
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Around the Country
Mississippi Today  journalist Larrison Campbell reports that state representative and gubernatorial candidate Robert Foster refused to participate in a campaign ride-along because of Campbell's gender, demanding that a male colleague accompany Campbell for her reporting. Campbell had a long-standing professional relationship with the Foster campaign, breaking numerous stories about his candidacy, but the Foster camp said the potential perception of impropriety led to their decision to refuse her request. We don't have to explain to you how a policy like this prevents women journalists from doing their jobs.

From the  Akron Beacon Journal Ohio's Summit County has its first all-women common-pleas court bench, following the November election. To commemorate the occasion, the group of nine judges gathered prior to their monthly meeting for a

OPB  interviews Mona Das, a first-year state senator in Washington, about earlier remarks she made about racism and sexism within the Senate Democratic Caucus. Despite Washington State's 3rd place standing among state legislatures in our
state rankings , Das pointed out the lingering biases of her fellow legislators, and though she has apologized privately to colleagues for how she delivered the criticism, she stands by the content of the critique and believes it has started an important dialogue about implicit bias.

Hollywood Calling
In entertainment news,  Deadline   reports that Gina Rodriguez has been signed by the new Disney+ streaming service to produce and star in a new series, Diary of a Female President, which tells the story of a 12-year old girl in middle school, interspersed with scenes of her future as the President of the United States. Want to see and share more TV shows and films that center women in politics? Our program that promotes visibility of women leaders to school-aged children,  Teach a Girl to Lead® , has compiled a great list of content , both documentary and fiction, showcasing women in leadership.

The U.S. Women's National Team came home from France as World Cup Champions for the fourth time, beating the Netherlands in the finals. The Atlantic talked to Kelly Dittmar about the USWNT and how it relates to politics, and Dittmar told them, "We often talk in politics about symbolic representation, the idea that you 'can't be what you can't see.' If you can see the potential for [women being celebrated as American sports heroes], you aren't just seeing the potential that women can be successful soccer stars, but even more broadly, that these very physically strong and also emotionally strong women are being given the credit they deserve." Vanity Fair, meanwhile, looked at USWNT Captain Megan Rapinoe's activism and political inclinations as well as a series of interviews she's done recently with a politics focus, and in one of those, on Meet the Press, Rapinoe was asked whether she would consider running for office, and she replied that she wasn't sure she was qualified for political office, but we disagree!
  1. Women frequently underestimate their own qualifications for office.
  2. Lots of male athletes have run for and served in political office. They never pondered their qualifications...
We know the presidential field is crowded, but guess who turns 35 next year...?
CAWP Calendar

Center for American Women and Politics
Eagleton Institute of Politics
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