Politics and Governance

The Earth Needs Women Leaders

It’s no coincidence that I’m writing about the need for men to share leadership on the eve of Earth Day (April 22), in the midst of Spring’s unfolding, and at time when our Earth ecosystem is struggling. I don’t believe that patriarchal leadership marked by empire building has served humanity well and it’s time for a change. To me it’s very simple and very clear; if women were in charge, our environment would be healthier.

The data in the map is 4 years old but relevant I think. In Tan are the countries that have never had a female head of state. The Dark Green countries have had women at the helm for 15 years or more. Read the report here.

And just a note that I struggle to get the terminology right. Many reports on this topic use the term women and many use female. Yet many people don’t identify as men or women. I considered the term non-male so as to include non-binary people, yet I have read cautions about labeling and lumping non-binary people with women. I’m not sure what’s the best terminology, just that it’s time for a change.

State of Maine Democracy

What makes for a good democracy?

The League of Women Voters of Maine and Maine Citizens for Clean Elections teamed up to prepare a recent report – The State of Maine Democracy – that looks at the following:

  1. Representative Government
  2. Voter and Civic Participation
  3. Poverty and Voter Participation
  4. Voting Rights
  5. Election Methods
  6. Conduct of Elections
  7. Money in Politics
  8. Freedom of Information
  9. Newspapers and Media Access
  10. The Judiciary

A good democracy requires attention to all this stuff. I know people say that the United States is a Republic, or a Federal Republic, or a Constitutional Democracy, and other things, yet fundamentally don’t we want government by the people and for the people? To most of us, we think that basic democracy is when the leaders represent the people. That’s what most Americans expect of their government.

This report looks at factors impacting how well leaders represent their people; the list above.

As you might imagine, my home State of Maine gets good marks. We are proud of our consistently high voter turnout (3rd in the country at last look) and of our high integrity elections. We get high marks for freedom of information and for inclusive and protective voting laws.

Yet all is not well with democracy in Maine. “To put it bluntly,” the report says, “the Legislature is and has been dominated by older white men.” The report also cites gender disparity in the Judiciary. If we expect the leaders to represent the people, it works really well when the leaders look like the people.

Where voter turnout is lowest in Maine, there are correlations with race and poverty. These things (race and poverty) are barriers to voting and thus affect how well “leaders represent the people.”

The report does a great job of providing take-aways and conclusions from a variety of complex data. Thank you League of Women Voters of Maine and Maine Citizens for Clean Elections for helping us monitor the health of our democracy.

Vote everyday with your voice and your money

With a small effort I can make my voice a lot bigger.

We just went through a big national vote but today our national Congress is in session and so is our Maine State Legislature and our civic leaders are expecting to hear from us.

And with every spending or investment decision, corporate leaders are counting our dollars to be sure. Dollars are votes in the world of commerce.

This newsletter focuses on how to influence your world. All the time.

I hear people complain about government policies yet do little about it. Voting counts. Contacting your elected leader counts. Talking about stuff on social media or other places actually doesn’t. Spending and investing money actually counts. Talking about what others should do with their money doesn’t.

I might not like the ways in which the world has established for me to have a voice and it might take some effort on my part, but these are the ways. Governments have set up many bona-fide channels for us to have a voice that counts, and markets are extremely responsive to our spending and investment signals.

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