“Why Women Have No Opinions”

I read yet another article on the lack of women’s voices in the OPED pages and felt the need to comment.   To set the context please read this article in The Guardian UK by Maura Kelly. It states that males voices outnumber women’s voices by huge numbers EVEN on women’s issues. For the record, I have done a training with the OPED PROJECT ( amazing) and I have written a number of OPEDS personally.   I have also met with the chief EDITOR of Bloomberg on this topic, and had many a dinner party conversation about it. Here is my quick take on the subject.

I basically agree with all that is written so the question is, NOW WHAT? First and foremost, women need to submit more. Period. We have to think of ourselves as experts ( because we are), get trained in writing an OPED well, and do it.  I have heard that women are published at a higher percentage relative to submissions then men are, though I have nothing to prove it.  My  Bloomberg contact said that in the business area they get next to NO submissions from women on a relative basis but when they do, they are on average better written and are therefore more likely to be published. Whether this is true for publications like the New York Times, or the Washington Post, I have no idea. Regardless ladies, SUBMIT!!!!

When we see panels of ALL WHITE men, or almost all white men, talking about ‘women’s issues’ we need to be outraged and take action. Whatever that media source is they need to hear from us.  The Women’s Media Center is amazing at calling out media sexism on their Media Monitoring page and we need to support them in this work.

Taking that a step further we need to STOP consuming media from places that do this, and are in general, sexist.  Shame on us if we don’t care enough to take action.  What then is their motivation to change?  To take action tweet to Miss Representation at hashtag #notbuyingit and be more aware of your media consumption.

We also need to proactively seek out and support great media content created by women.  If a woman (or a man) writes a great OPED putting a gender lens to a story that gets us to think, writer a letter to the editor in support.  If you think a TV show or a blog post is awesome, post a comment and share it.  When a great film for women and about women comes out go see it opening weekend, then with the DVD is released buy it or rent it. There are also many great non-profit women’s media groups to support including  Women’s eNews, Ms. Magazine and WorldPulse.  There is also much power in joining subscriber lists.  The bigger numbers they have the more power they have.  Subscribe to services like WFN news updates, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media,  and Melissa Silversteins Women in Hollywood.  (if you have some other ones to add post a comment!)

My last point. We need to OWN the whole power thing. OWN IT.  As women I believe we are still afraid to really talk about power, or worse yet, claim it.  As Gloria Feldt so brilliantly frames it, “it is about power to and not power over.”  We all have so much power to wield and shame on us if we don’t. To add my other favorite Gloria quote, “power unused is power useless.”

Ms. Magazine and Wonder Woman 40 Years Later

In July of 1972, Ms. Magazine published its first regular issue from New York City. While many predicted that the magazine would shutter within the year, Ms. Magazine is still published to this day, and in honour of its 40 year anniversary, New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Council Member Gale A. Brewer will be issuing a Proclamation to Ms. Magazine’s founders and staff at City Hall today in New York City. Co-founded by Gloria Steinem and Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Ms. Magazine was the first national feminist publication, and more importantly, it was written, controlled, and run by women, a first in the male dominated world of news media. Used to discuss and shed light on issues critical to women’s lives, such as domestic violence, abortion, and date rape, as well as to advocate for women’s causes and hold presidential candidates accountable on women’s rights, Ms. Magazine has spent the past 40 years furthering the feminist cause both nationally and around the world.

Published since 2001 by the Feminist Majority Foundation, which is led by prominent women’s rights activist Eleanor Smeal, Ms. Magazine continues to deliver comprehensive coverage of the issues most important to women and girls. Today in New York City, Ms. Magazine’s founders, staff past and present, and supporters will gather to celebrate this milestone and recognize the extraordinary achievements of the past 40 years. Hopefully, this celebration will also galvanize those involved with Ms. Magazine to continue their work, as for all that has been achieved, there is still plenty of work to be done.

On its first cover in 1972, Wonder Woman was front and centre with Ms. Magazine proudly proclaiming “Wonder Woman for President”. With Wonder Woman’s ideals of peace, truth, equality, and justice, it is hard to argue with this notion. In the years following Ms. Magazine’s debut, Wonder Woman became one of pop culture’s most iconic figures, enjoying a surge of popularity thanks to the primetime television show Wonder Woman, starring Lynda Carter, and the Saturday morning animated series Super Friends that ran for over a decade. However, since the mid-80s Wonder Woman has faded from the mainstream media, despite the continuous publication of her comic book series.

In contrast, Wonder Woman’s male counterparts have not faded, and today superheroes own the box office, with several films released each year, each with staggeringly high budgets and extensive marketing campaigns. This summer alone The Avengers has climbed to the third highest box office gross of all time, and The Dark Knight Rises is one of the most hotly anticipated movies in recent memory. Throughout all this, Wonder Woman remains without a film of her own, despite it being listed as in production since 2001, and an attempt to bring Wonder Woman back to television failed last year. At a time when superheroes have never been more popular or profitable, it is a disgrace that the most famous female heroine of the past 70 years can not find her way to the big screen.

It is no coincidence that Ms. Magazine decided to put Wonder Woman on their cover 40 years ago. Wonder Woman stands for love, peace, and equality, ideals that should not only define feminism, but humanity as a whole. One can only hope that with advocates like Ms. Magazine, Wonder Woman will someday soon be given the chance to bring her message to a global audience. After all, if the big screen is ready for a THIRD incarnation of Superman, it is more than ready for Wonder Woman.

Guest Post by Laura Moore; Jacki is in New York this week for Women Moving Millions and some family time.

Senate Votes No to Equal Pay for Women – Say WHAT????

The U.S Senate voted last week on the Paycheck Fairness Act, an act that would have helped bring an end to pay discrimination. Unbelievably the act was rejected by the Senate with a vote of 52 yes to 47 no. (69 yes votes were needed to pass the act) If you’re interested in seeing how your senator voted click here. I am Canadian and not a US citizen, which means I cannot vote, so this is not a political issue for me, it is a fairness issue.  t That said not a single Republican voted yes.

The Paycheck Fairness Act is aimed to end pay discrimination by closing a set of loopholes in current labor laws that make it near impossible to enforce fair pay laws. It would ban employer retaliation against workers who seek to expose wage discrimination, make it easier for workers to join together in class action suits to fight it and give victims of pay discrimination full compensation and back pay. Ultraviolet, an incredible organization that our foundation supports, put together a fact sheet on wage statistics. On average, over the course of a woman’s career women are loosing $431,000 due to wage discrimination. This is one of the main reasons we see so many senior women living in poverty today!  To see the whole fact sheet click to Ultraviolet.

If you’re as outraged as I am, its time to take action! Know that issues and know how politicians in your area are voting. In addition Momsrising, a network of people with the goal to make America a more family-friendly place, is taking a strong stand. “Instead of giving up, we’re doubling down on our Campaign for Equal Pay.”  Please consider supporting them by donating $23 (why only $23? On average, women make 23 cents less to a man’s dollar). CLICK HERE to donate!

Embrace the facts, share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, and take a stand against pay discrimination!