Women Will Get It Done

Nevada is the first state in the nation in which a majority of the legislators are female. [WP 5/17/19]

For almost 20 years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission to make the world better. When she and her husband launched the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, they knew only that they wanted to use their Microsoft wealth to stop children born in poverty from needlessly dying of ailments that were easily cured in developed nations. Since then, their mandate has evolved to include curing disease, developing and delivering new medications, lifting communities out of poverty, and increasing access to opportunity and education. A few years ago, Gates realized one thing unified all those goals: empowering women.

She is not alone. Experts working on the world’s biggest problems agree that by helping women, you help everyone. Want to solve climate change? Empower women. Lower infant mortality? Empower women. Cure AIDS? Empower women. Make your company more profitable? Empower women. The list goes on. [GenderAvenger Blog 5/10/19]

Since the grassroots organization known as “500 Women Scientists” launched its searchable database, more than 8,500 researchers from at least 133 countries have signed on to be contacted as experts by journalists, conference organizers and teachers. [Stat News 4/24/19]

‘The Year of the Lesbian Mayor’

That’s how Annise Parker, former Houston mayor and current president of the LGBTQ candidate-backing Victory Fund, hopes we’ll look back on 2019. And with the Tuesday election of former Tampa police chief Jane Castor to the city’s top office, it looks like Parker may get her wish.

Castor’s win follows that of Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot and Satya Rhodes-Conway in Madison, Wisconsin earlier this month, bringing the number of gay women to be elected mayor in the 100 biggest U.S. cities to three so far in 2019. (And there could be more to come; Jolie Justus is in a June 18 runoff race in Kansas City, Missouri.)

Their victories bring the total number of out lesbians ever elected to lead one of the 100 biggest U.S. cities from two—Parker and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan—to five, and the number of out LGBTQ people to have ever been elected mayor of a top 100 city from six to nine. Overall, there are now 38 LGBTQ mayors in the U.S.

The trio has also achieved a host of boundary-breaking firsts. Castor is the first openly LGBTQ candidate elected mayor of a major southeastern U.S. city. Lightfoot is Chicago’s first gay mayor and its first black female mayor. Rhodes-Conway is Madison’s first LGBTQ mayor—and became so after defeating a 22-year incumbent.

Reflecting on Castor’s win, Parker told the media: “While voters chose Jane because of her vision for Tampa, her willingness to be open and honest about her life lent her an authenticity that voters are drawn to not just in Tampa, but across the nation.” [Fortune Magazine]