Yesterday in the New York Times, a title caught my eye… “The Media Has A Woman Problem“. Now usually I would scrim the article but I had seen this particular one pop up on social media a few times so I decided to actually sit and read it. Liza Mundy starts off by describing her welcoming situation in the world of journalism:
WASHINGTON — THEY were, to a man, men. All were white; all in their 40s or thereabouts; most had dark hair. It was the mid-1990s, and I was interviewing at The Washington Post for the job of managing editor of the Sunday magazine. A morning of intimidating meetings with newsroom officials had given way to lunch with the magazine’s editors and elite staff writers. Later, when these men became my friends and colleagues, I would realize they looked nothing alike. But at that moment, overwhelmed and self-conscious about not only my gender but also my credentials my interlocutors appeared as one indistinguishable blur.
This “wall” of professional men seemingly blocking her entrance into a higher position is an intimidating wall for any woman in the work place even if it’s not noticeable. Liza continues to go on about different statistics and facts concerning men in the work place even media, journalism, film and other writings and how much their involvement exceeds that of women. Liza explains that, “On the front page of The New York Times, the study noted, men were quoted three times more often than women. When women were writing the stories, the number of women quoted went up.” The voice of women should always be heard equally to that of men, in my opinion, and not only because I am, myself, a woman. How is a person supposed to be able to understand the happenings of society if they aren’t equally surveying the demographic of the society?
According to the National Science Foundation, women take 41 percent of science and engineering Ph.D.s. But they are less than a quarter of the STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — work force. For decades, nearly half of law students have been women, but while they make up 64 percent of staff lawyers they are just 17 percent of equity partners at top firms, according to the National Association of Women Lawyers. As Liza continues through these statistics and numbers I get increasingly panicked about the voice of women in the world, in media.
According to VIDA, an organization that runs an annual tally of women’s representation in print, in 2013 men still dominated bylines in The New Republic by about three to one, and they outnumbered women at The Nation, The New Yorker and The Atlantic, too. Just a few months ago, the Georgetown law professor Rosa Brooks (a colleague of mine at the New America Foundation) was the only female columnist out of more than 20 regular contributors to Foreign Policy. The editors have made an effort to recruit talented women, and the magazine now has 11 female contributors.
She notes that there are women who have important places in journalistic start-ups, especially in planning and late events and fashion. But as the stories grow about these highly important people, the ones writing the stories are more closely related to those that they are talking about. The voice of men is important but just as important as that of women. We must have all of these views. It is important for everyone’s voice to be heard.