The Public Editor's Journal - Margaret Sullivan
Still Talking About It: ‘Where Are the Women?’
By MARGARET SULLIVAN MAY 12, 2014, 10:00 AM 23 Comments
Some facts, according to a recent Women’s Media Center study:
* At the nation’s 10 most widely circulated newspapers, men had 63 percent of the bylines, nearly two for every one for a woman.
* Among those papers, The Times had the biggest gender gap – with 69 percent of bylines going to men.
I'm shocked to hear that the best newspaper is the most male-dominated.
* Women are far more likely to cover health and lifestyle news. They're less likely to cover crime, justice and world politics.
Women are also far more likely to read health and lifestyle news. They're less likely to read crime, justice and world politics articles.
* At three major papers, including The Times, and four newspaper syndicates, male opinion-page writers outnumber female writers four to one.
Nearly a quarter of a century ago, back before the WWW, I started writing op-eds as a hobby and mailing them off to newspapers around the country. I noticed that most of the salaried op-ed page editors who chose my unsolicited contributions and sent me my check for $150 (or whatever) were women, but most of my fellow op-ed contributors on the tear sheets of the Cleveland Plain Dealer or Christian Science Monitor were men.
This seems like basic evolutionary psychology: males gravitate toward riskier career paths where they try to broadcast their acumen to the public at large, and women take more stable roles where they get to choose the individual men.
After three decades in journalism, I find it hard to believe that – while things have changed radically in some ways – there’s still such a gender imbalance.
After four and a half decades in which feminism has been conventional wisdom (for example, look at how the the Equal Rights Amendment was ratified by 30 states from March 1972 through March 1973 before Phyllis Schlafly's critiques started to be understood), wouldn't it seem likely that the distribution of types of jobs that has been fairly stable among young people for a approaching a couple of generations now reflects enduring sex differences?
A lot of conventional wisdom these days sounds like a Joe Stalin speech from 1937: the Five Year Plan cannot fail, except for the Wreckers, those relics who are on the Wrong Side of History, who are secretly sabotaging everything.