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The demographics of power = a crisis in our democracy.

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Can politicians solve our probs if they don’t look like us? US:70% women & people of color. Congress: 71% white men.
US cities are diverse; leaders aren’t. Mayors are 80% male; 11 major cities have zero women in office.
Bipartisan problem: GOP pols are 97% white/76% male. Dems are 79% white/65% male. That’s not the face of America.

Resources

Researchers: Questions or feedback about our data? We’d love to know how you’re using it. Drop us a line at RD-outreach@womendonors.org.

Research Projects since 2014

Who Leads Us?

Who Leads Us? was a first-of-its kind analysis of the race and gender of 42,000 elected officials from the federal to county level—showing that white men hold 4 times as much power as the rest of the population.

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Justice For All?

Justice for All? analyzed the 2,400 elected prosecutors nationwide and revealed that 95% are white and 79% are men, shining a light on the structural bias of the criminal justice system.

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Who Runs in America?

Who Runs (in) America? analyzed the race and gender of candidates, finding that women and people of color are not only excluded from elected office, they’re excluded from our ballots.

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Press Releases

The Reflective Democracy Campaign Announces Journalism and Research Fellowships

The Reflective Democracy Campaign, a project of the Women Donors Network, analyzes and disrupts the demographics of power in the United States. We conduct groundbreaking research that shines a light on the exclusion of women and people of color from political leadership, and catalyze activism and scholarship aimed at achieving a democracy where everyone has a seat at the table.  You can learn more about the Reflective Democracy Campaign at WhoLeads.Us.

We’re delighted to announce the creation of two new fellowships, to begin in the summer of 2018, to support innovative, intersectional work in the areas of journalism and research.

Journalism Fellowship

Since its launch in 2014, the Reflective Democracy Campaign has engaged with a wide range of journalists covering race and gender in politics.  The Campaign’s findings and analysis of the demographics of political power have become an ongoing point of reference, and the Campaign has also acted as a convener and background resource for journalists working in this area.

We recognize the importance of rigorous, intersectional reporting on the demographics of political power, and we seek to facilitate additional work in this area in this key election year by supporting a Reflective Democracy Journalism Fellow.  The fellowship will invest in a journalist with relevant experience and innovative perspective, enabling him/her to dedicate significant time to thinking and writing about the demographics of political power while also engaging with other journalists in the field.

The Journalism Fellow will receive support from the Campaign to:

  • Research and develop articles, commentaries, or other coverage of the demographics of political power in the U.S. (the specific medium is flexible).
  • Design and organize opportunities for peer to peer engagement with other journalists, with the goal of creating opportunities for discussion, resource sharing, and critical thinking about the ways race, gender, and political power are covered in the media.
  • Monitor high-level trends and gaps in the public discussion of race, gender, and politics.

The Fellow will plan and design his or her own program, subject to feedback from the Campaign’s leadership.  The Fellow will work independently but also contribute insight and perspective to the Reflective Democracy Campaign.

The length of the fellowship is flexible and can be adapted to the individual, but we anticipate four to six months, beginning in the summer of 2018.  The Reflective Democracy Campaign will provide a stipend to support the work of the fellow, also to be determined on an individual basis.  Our preference is for a full-time fellowship, but we are flexible and willing to design the fellowship around the right candidate.  A limited travel budget will also be available.

To apply, please submit a letter of interest and resume/cv to rd-outreach@womendonors.org by May 21, 2018.

Research Fellowship

Since its launch in 2014, the Reflective Democracy Campaign has conducted extensive research on the demographics of power in the United States, and has engaged with researchers at academic institutions and non-profit organizations around the country who are working to better understand the barriers that keep women and people of color from elected leadership. At the core of the Campaign’s research is our comprehensive data set that tracks the race and gender of elected officials and candidates at a federal, state and county level and municipal offices for the top 200 cities.

The Campaign seeks to build our research by supporting a Reflective Democracy Research Fellow who would broaden and deepen engagement with the academic and activist fields as well as explore new research questions on behalf of the Campaign. The fellowship will provide the opportunity during a key election year to dedicate significant time to research on the demographics of political power while drawing on the resources and strategic orientation of the Reflective Democracy Campaign and the Women Donors Network.  While research should leverage the Reflective Democracy data set, we are open to both qualitative and quantitative research efforts.

The Research Fellow will receive support from the Reflective Democracy Campaign to:

  • Develop and conduct new research on the demographics of political power
  •  Monitor and synthesize current academic research in the field
  • Identify key areas for future research
  • Design and organize opportunities for interaction with other researchers, with the goal of increasing engagement with and strengthening the Reflective Democracy Campaign’s research, as well as building relationships with leaders in the field.

The Fellow will plan and design his or her own program, subject to feedback from the Campaign’s leadership.  After initial discovery and orientation, the Fellow will submit ideas and approaches for a strategic plan of research and engagement with the field. Additionally, to support the Campaign’s program and vision, the Campaign may identify or suggest specific research projects or areas of inquiry for the Fellow Our goal is to invest in a critical thinker and strong researcher who will work quite independently while also occasionally participating as a member of the Reflective Democracy team.

The length of the fellowship is flexible and can be adapted to the individual, but we anticipate four to six months, beginning in the summer of 2018.  The Reflective Democracy Campaign will provide a stipend to support the work of the fellow, also to be determined on an individual basis.  Our preference is for a full-time fellowship, but we are flexible and willing to design the fellowship around the right candidate.  A limited travel budget will also be available.

Qualified applicants will have a record of scholarly research in the area of race and/or gender and politics and interest in and ability to engage with researchers, organizers, and activists in the field.  Graduate work in a relevant academic discipline is preferred.

To apply, please submit a letter of interest and resume/cv to rd-outreach@womendonors.org by May 21, 2018.

In the News

Despite Diverse Demographics, Most Politicians Are Still White Men

U.S. News & World Report / October 24, 2017
By Alexa Lardieri
A new study released Tuesday by the Reflective Democracy Campaign on the demographics of elected officials in the United States found white men hold a majority of positions at all levels of government.

Study: Despite changing demographics, the political playing field still tilts toward white men

The Washington Post / October 24, 2017
By Vanessa Williams
Women who were inspired by Hillary Clinton’s historic presidential bid or furious that she lost to President Trump are running for office in larger numbers in the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections. But most of them face formidable odds because of long-standing practices and attitudes that are more favorable to men, a new study finds.

12 Absolutely Essential Things You Should Know About Running For Office

Cosmopolitan / October 10, 2017
“Breaking into your local political network is a key part of the process,” says Brenda Choresi Carter, director of The Reflective Democracy Campaign, which tracks the demographics of political power. Meet local political brokers by attending meetings on key issues in your town, or volunteer for someone else’s campaign. If you demonstrate that you’re effective, your party will be more likely to back you.

What’s wrong with too many white men in one place?

CNN / May 27, 2017
President Donald Trump helped the nation reach a rare moment of racial reconciliation, but hardly anyone noticed. It was sparked by a recent White House photo op, when Trump gathered with Republican leaders to celebrate the House passing a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. The event looked like the board meeting of an all-white-male golf club. Photos from the ceremony showed a phalanx of middle-aged white men heartily congratulating one another, with no woman or person of color in sight.
Strategies for Change

Building a Movement

We make catalytic investments in leaders and organizations working toward a more reflective democracy.

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We engage the public in crucial dialogue about who holds power in America, and why. Click below to see our coast-to-coast media coverage.

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