As I noted yesterday, the byline numbers for last week are in. And as I noted yesterday, they are a mixed bag.
Huge snaps to The LA Times for a 50-50 split. Four years ago, Susan Estrich, a writer at that very paper, noted (rather vocally, and to the consternation of many) that there were far fewer women being published on the LA Times op-ed page. Four years later, women are 50% of their op-ed contributors. Coincidence? Unlikely.
It would seem that The LA Times has made a concerted effort in recent years to include more women’s voices, and perhaps, more women have been submitting to the paper, increasing the supply of available women’s voices. The Op Ed Project aims to work at the second half of the equation, the supply side, providing editors with credible and well-crafted women-penned op-ed pieces, thus making it easier for papers to bring their op-ed pages up to 50-50.
It’s also interesting to note the drop-off after LAT and Salon (33.35%). Trailing almost 15% behind Salon are HuffPo, NYT and WaPo (17%, 16.6% and 15% respectively). The LA Times and Salon are doing well, no doubt, but why is there such a large gap between the top performers and the cluster of three papers near 15%?
Finally, on a more personal note, anyone who knows me knows that I love the show Mad Men. Feminism and vintage clothing is a pretty lethal combination. Which is why I was especially thrilled to read what OEP alumnus Jennifer Allyn had to say in her op-ed at Forbes.com.
“Mad Men reminds us that profound cultural change is possible. Corporate America still has flaws, but in hindsight the progress made over the past five decades is indisputable. The third season begins in 1963, five years prior to the iconic advertising campaign whose slogan capitalized on the theme of women’s liberation. While some may argue it was just a cynical ploy by Virginia Slims to sell more cigarettes, the spirit of “You’ve come a long way baby” still rings true.
Now the urgent question becomes: Will Generation Y women grab the baton from their mothers and grandmothers and lead us all the way to the top?”
Amen, sister. And congrats on your first ever op-ed!