— WHY WOMEN STILL CAN’T HAVE IT ALL (The Atlantic)
Planned Parenthood is excited to be launching our new Tumblr that’s all about sexual and reproductive health – bodies, birth control, relationship issues, “is it normal for this to do this?” type things. In the coming weeks and months we’ll be sharing what we know, answering questions, and just… tumblring.
We hope you like it! And we hope it helps.
Welcome to the neighborhood!
We just about spat out our feminist Wheaties this morning, reading Christina Hoff Sommers takedown of the Paycheck Fairness Act on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times.
A scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Hoff Sommers argues that Paycheck Fairness—which would make it easier for women to file class-action suits against employers they accuse of wage discrimination, and require companies to be more cognizant of their pay practices—overlooks “mountains of research” showing that sexism plays “little role” in wage discrimination at work.
You all know we’ve got studies piled up on our cubicles the size of Mount Everest—if we want to use the mountain cliche—so here’s our humble rebuttal.
Ninety years ago today, the 19th amendment was ratified, granting women the right to vote. It was revolutionary, for the time—Alice Paul, then a young political activist, was beaten, imprisoned and force-fed for simply daring that women be engaged in political process. But if our grandmothers were born into a world where they weren’t allowed to have a political voice, what will the world look like for today’s young women? On the anniversary of women’s suffrage, a reality check:
* Today’s young girls will learn that while she may be able to vote for president, she still probably won’t be one. Even the 3-year-old daughter of Newsweek’s own (outgoing) editor knows this: after the 2008 election, she cooly informed her historian father that “girls can’t be president.” Ouch. Those faces on our dollar bills—42 men, not a single woman—really say it all.
* She’ll have to work harder if she wants to enter into politics, too. Sarah Palin may call herself a feminist, but women still hold just 16.8% of seats in Congress, and there are less than 20 female world leaders presently in power.
(Read the rest here.)
Our colleague Eleanor Clift has a very smart column today about whether Sarah Palin’s Mama Grizzlies are feminists. She writes:
Win or lose elections, the Mama Grizzlies have proven adept at breaking through the noise and getting more than their share of attention, just like their benefactor, Sarah Palin. Like Palin, they have found their voice. They don’t want anybody telling them how to raise their children, or taking their guns away. Thirty years late to the battle for women’s rights, they’re claiming the mantle of feminism.
It’s nice they’re embracing feminism after demonizing the term for so long, and I welcome them to the arena. Let’s see if they can do for women what their sisters on the left have done since the ’70s, breaking down the barriers for women in all areas of American life including politics.
The column, unlike a lot of the discourse on whether or not Palin and others are “feminist enough,” manages to challenge Palin’s politics but avoid the knee-jerk take excluding those whose positions many feminists find objectionable. We agree with Clift: welcome ladies.
Politico’s got a good roundup today of the lack of women on the Sunday talk-show circuit, based on new data from American University showing that women made up just 13.4 percent of lawmaker appearances on the Sunday shows this year.
Thus far this year, the five major Sunday shows — including NBC’s “Meet the Press,” “Fox News Sunday,” CBS’s “Face the Nation,” ABC’s “This Week” and CNN’s “State of the Union” — have had 148 appearances by congressional lawmakers. Of those, 128 were men and 20 were women.
Ouch. So naturally, the blame-game begins: Is it sexist bookers? Is it not enough women in Congress? Is it women being difficult? Researchers and press-secretaries have accused network bookers of a “men-in-suits” mindset, while the network producers say there aren’t enough women to book. And the women they do try to book, they say, are just so damn difficult to pin down! “I’ve probably asked her 25 times,” the female executive producer of “Meet the Press” says of Nancy Pelosi. “She is just unwilling to do it.”
As for the rest of ‘em…
Sen. Claire McCaskill goes home almost every weekend to Missouri, where family plans often take precedence over Sunday shows. Sen. Olympia Snowe tries to appear via satellite from her home in Bangor, Maine, but it’s a small media market with few studios. Pelosi, Feinstein and Boxer — all key women — live on the West Coast, which would mean that even if a remote shot were possible the taping would have to be early, putting them in the chair as early as 6 a.m. for some shows.
As Politico has written before, there aren’t enough women on Capitol Hill, for sure. But just so we don’t let the media get away squeaky clean, a quick Equality Myth rundown of exactly how shitty media of all formats is doing when it comes to showcasing women.
NEWSWEEK: In 1970, the year 46 women sued the company for gender discrimination, 25 percent of the magazine’s editorial masthead was female. As of March 16, that number was 39 percent—with an overall gender breakdown that’s roughly equal. To its credit, NEWSWEEK has looked critically at itself—in particular, with this story, published earlier this year. But, still: a mere six of NEWSWEEK’s 49 cover stories last year were written by women.
THE WASHINGTON POST: n 2008, an internal Post newsroom study of 1,200 Post stories found that women had been the focus of just 18 percent of them. The same analysis found that “men are quoted almost three times as often as women in the paper.” Last month, the paper sparked a minor blogosphere frenzy when various commentators noticed that, among the Post’s featured columnists on its websites, there were, well, a whole lotta middle-aged white men staring back from their headshots. (Also, there was this.)
NPR: In a piece earlier this year called “Where Are the Women?,” NPR’s ombudsman took to the Web to call out the organization for its painful lack of female commentators. NPR does well when it comes to female hosts—three of five of its major shows are hosted by women; the org has a female CEO and head of the news department. But when it comes to commentators and outside voices, it’s a different story. Of the station’s 104 shows between April 13, 2009 and Jan. 9, 2010, just 26 percent of the 3,379 voices paid to appear on air were women.
Late-Night TV: When David Letterman’s sex scandal was blasted across every paper in town, various outlets reported on the sobering reality that there was not a single female writer on “The Jay Leno Show,” Letterman or “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.” Conan’s obviously no longer on the air (and we happen to know that one woman was promoted to writer at Letterman shortly after the scandal) but, um, still.
Sources Overall: A recent report from the Global Media Monitoring Project found that worldwide, women make up only 24 percent of the people “interviewed, heard, seen or read about in mainstream broadcast and print news.”
Bylines overall: Meanwhile, no matter that women have been the majority of college journalism majors since 1977, female bylines at 11 of the top political and intellectual magazines, as assessed by the White House Project, are still outnumbered by whopping 7:1.
Media Power Overall: A 2007 study by Free Press found that while women comprised 51 percent of the U.S. population, they owned less than 6 percent of television stations and 8 percent of all full-power commercial broadcast radio stations.
(Ed’s Update: For the record, SheSource—a database of 500-plus women experts on virtually every topic, maintained by the Women’s Media Center—is a great resource for combating this reality. Check it out, we should have thought to include it earlier!)
Who are we forgetting?
Michel Martin became one of our heroes today. In “No, We’re Not Going to Sit Down and Shut Up,” she manages to satisfyingly shame Don Imus and Chris Wallace for sexist comments that, even for them, were particularly egregious; broaden the argument to make larger points about American culture, power, and the question of “entitlement;” and wrap up with a thrillingly bad-ass line. We dare you to read the final graph and not swell with solidarity:
It used to be, and often still is, that one set of values or perspectives dominates the way we look at issues and talk about them. You can see where the people who share that particular perspective begin to feel they are entitled to shape the conversation for all time. But things change — new voices rise, different people win elections, or dare we say it, get on the radio. Maybe some people have a problem with that. Tough. Because we’re not going anywhere.