Website of the Week: Women for Parity (psst–good news!)

by Gloria Feldt on August 20th, 2009
in Power and tagged , , ,

“We want all, but we’ll take half,” is one of the inimitable Bella Abzug’s mantras. It’s also on the masthead of a website I commend to you, called Women for Parity, my first Website of the Week.

There are so many great websites for and about powered women and the issues important to us. I decided to start this regular feature as a way to honor them, but more importantly to share them with my readers, tweeps, and Facebook friends and fans. I hope you’ll find some new website resources and interesting blogs here. And please let me know if you have websites to suggest.

Women for Parity isn’t a new discovery for me though; it’s been on my blogroll for a long time. Its founders include Bella’s former NY office chief Martha Baker, filmmaker/activist Lilly Rivlin, web design expert Beva Eastman, and Carole Losee founder of the Elizabeth Seeger school.

They posted some good news recently that I want to share with you. Their Women for Parity Blog looked at the percentage of women in various political leadership roles. While the news overall isn’t so great–17% of Congress for example–there’s a big bright spot in state level chief justices:

In the course of tracking down information about Georgia’s Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, I came across a list of the names of all the chief justices in all the states and territories. As I glanced down the list, I was astonished to find so many women’s first names in a setting that I would have expected to be an all-white male club. When I checked further and counted them out, I found to my delight that 18 of the 50 states had female chief justices–36%–and while women have not yet achieved complete parity, we are on our way in an unlikely place.

(Recently, NYS’s Chief Justice Judith Kaye has retired under NYS’s mandatory retirement rule of 70 years. Gov. Paterson has chosen her replacement, Jonathan Lippman, –not yet confirmed–after a brief struggle with the state’s nominating commission, arguing that the all-male list he was given to choose from which did not contain any women or minority names was not representative of the legal talent of the state!)

One reason for the achievement of so many women to high judicial office has been that more and more women have chosen to attend law school after their college graduation. The figures are quite astonishing, indicating that today 40% to 52% of law school classes are female.

There’s lots of good news for women these days, in my humble opinion. This is a Moment unlike any we have ever seen. More on that in future posts. Today, check out Women for Parity, and let me know what other sites you’d like to see recognized as Website of the Week.

Gloria Feldt is the author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Buy the book here. Engage Gloria for a Speech or Workshop. Tweet @GloriaFeldt and connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Gloria is the co-founder (with Amy Litzenberger) of Take the Lead, a new initiative to prepare and propel women to leadership parity by 2025. Find them @takeleadwomen and on Facebook.

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