Thank You Thursdays: The Op-Ed Project
There are simply not enough women being featured in the national op-ed pages, which is why something like Charlotte Allen's crappy op-ed has such reverberations.
That isn't news to those that remember the shake up at The Los Angeles Times following Susan Estrich's defiance in 2005. Estrich, a political pundit, had her law students at USC analyze the gender imbalance on the op-ed pages for a period of three years and found wide discrepancies, including 24 men and one woman in a three day period, 13 men and no women as authors of pieces on Iraq etc. An op-ed writer for the paper herself, Estrich attacked editor-in-chief Michael Kinsley for alleged discrimination.In fact, The Los Angeles Times has a far better percentage of women ”than did The Washington Post (10.4 percent) and The New York Times (16.9 percent).
These statistics are not looking much better three years later.
Never fear. The amazing and brilliant Katie Orenstein is here. She has started The OpEd Project, which is:
an initiative to target and train women experts across the nation to project their voices on the op-ed pages of major newspapers and other key forums of public discourse, which are currently overwhelmingly dominated by male voices, and to connect them with the editors who need them. This is a media democracy project, designed to promote diversity on the op-ed pages and beyond. The premise of this project is not women's affirmative action in fact, it is not a women project at all: It's an everyone project. The lack of diversity on the op-ed pages deprives the public of robust, democratic debate, especially important in this space, which is intended to showcase divergent opinions.
I love her intersectional approach and that she got major press in The New York Times (the very institution that she's, in part, targeting).
I've also taken her workshop and it's transformative. If you're in the Bay Area, seize the day this weekend:
Date: Saturday,March 15, 2008 (In San Francisco)
Thank you to Katie for her amazing work in the world. She is providing a fundamental answer to the problem of anemic public debate and making the whole dang world better in the process.