Welcome to another week of counting bylines! We’re entering our fourth week of research, and some interesting patterns are starting to emerge. Based on the last three weeks, here are the percentage of male-penned op-eds in the papers we’re looking at:
We started this project with the knowledge that, in 2004, about 15% of op-eds were written by women. Based on data for the last three weeks – and keep in mind, we have almost two-and-a-half more months of research left – indicates that those numbers have changed very little. Five years on, the majority of the publications we’re looking at are over 80% male. The op-ed pages of The New York Times, Salon, The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal are all over 80% male.
Secondly, we were interested to see if online journalism is more likely to include women’s voices than print journalism is. Based on the numbers at The Huffington Post (63%) and at Salon (83%), it doesn’t seem that being an online publication is a guarantee of being a more gender-diverse publication. Of course, in order to make that conclusion with more certainty, you’d have to look at more than two online papers. But I hadn’t expected Salon’s numbers of women to be so low when compared to HuffPo.
Finally, it’s clear that since Susan Estrich spoke out about the lack of women on the LA Times’ op-ed page in 2004, there has been a vast improvement at that paper. Over the last three weeks, the LAT’s op-ed page has been, on average, 42% female, making it by far the best performer out of the papers we’re looking at.
Anyway, we’ll be tracking the numbers until the end of October, but for the next few weeks, I’m going to be looking in to what women write about when they’re published. Do they write primarily about “women’s issues”? Are there women being positioned as experts on national defense and fiscal policy? If not, why not? I’ll be talking to editors and experts about if and why women and men write about different things when they write op-eds.
It should be really exciting, so stay tuned!