Just last week, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney asked “Where are the women?” when calling out the Government Oversight and Reform Committee for a hearing on birth control that didn’t allow any women to testify. This week the online magazine VIDA released it’s report on male and female bylines in major news publications and we are forced to ask this question again.
The publications surveyed included 14 thought leader publications that shape public conversations around literature and politics. For many publications the outlook is bleak, for example, at The Atlantic the ratio is three to one, men to women, The New Republic four to one and Harper’s, five to one. But not all publications are on the wrong side of the numbers–the progressive publication Mother Jones had a 50/50 split of male to female by-lines and former Feministing editor Ann reported that GOOD has a 50/50 split in a survey of their past three issues.
Despite these exceptions, the message could not be more clear: we need more women writing at some of these “thought leadership” publications. Gender disparities in influential media publications matter, they drive public debates and shape how issues are discussed. The lack of women is wholly unacceptable.