During the 2012 election cycle, a record number of women won seats in Congress. Still, women make up just 19 percent of Congress and hold only five governorships.
In an effort to build momentum following the 2012 races, the Women’s Law Association hosted its annual conference on February 8, titled “19%: When Will Women Have the Floor?” Experts and professionals gathered to discuss how to close the gender gap in politics, and what role lawyers can play in that process.
The conference featured a keynote by Stephanie Schriock, the co-founder of EMILY’s List, an organization that supports female candidates for office, as well as panels on a variety of topics, including international models of women’s participation, the role of gender on the campaign trail, and voter disenfranchisement.
In the first panel, “Models from Abroad; International Pathways to Women’s Participation,” panelists extolled the virtues of electoral gender quotas, or requirements that women make up a certain proportion of the government. They also discussed, more broadly, how the quality of women’s participation can be increased, and how the lessons of other governments can be applied to improve participation in the United States.
Read more about the conference and watch videos of the panels on the Harvard Law School website.