Friday, October 15, 2010

Quotaahs in the U.S.

Marie Wilson, founder and President of the White House Project, just announced a radical idea: maybe we need to stop conferring at conferences and do more.

Her point: we know why women matter. We have the research to back up why it's a good idea for more women to be represented in corporate and public life. She has personally seen it happen--from an ER nurse in Michigan who passed the first health care plan for the state (before our federal government) to a woman who informed her Colorado community about water-care for houses, which was followed by a 65% drop in the rate of foreclosures. Yet, although conferences like the ones today have been occurring with relatively steady frequency (Ms. Wilson mentioned one from the 1990s and one from 2003)--the U.S. is actually dropping globally in its rate of political representation of women, from 49th in the world, to 58 to 73 today.

What are the prescriptions for change that will truly push us forward? Training, storytelling, old-fashioned organizing, changing voting patterns, and of course, adding money.

And maybe...quotaahs.

**A quick note about numbers: I'm blogging as I listen, so I apologize for any discrepancies.

1 comment:

  1. The minute someone brings up quotas in places like Congress or on boards, the general sentiment seems that it’s a totally un-American thing to do. I’m sure there are a slew of reasons why, including America’s individualistic spirit. However, as Varina mentioned before there are growing gender disparities in representation across the board in the United States. So maybe it’s time for some radical movement in the government or corporate sectors. I bet if a larger corporate firm takes a risk and tries a (formal or informal) quota system for their board or executive management team and observes positive results even in the short-term, others will follow. I think it will take strong leadership and commitment from the top to really make an initiative like quotas work.