We might have to retract our earlier comments about the uncoolness of Newsweek, as the magazine’s online presence published two woman-championing pieces that caught our eye this week. First, this slide show by Jessica Bennett reveals some startling statistics about eight jobs that are still sexist – or rather, eight very large fields, including “business,” that are still sexist. How’s journalism treating the ladies?
We may have two female anchors on network television, but in print journalism, male bylines still outnumber female bylines by a rate of seven to one—despite women being the majority of journalism graduates since 1977. They’re in the minority when it comes to sources, too: the Global Media Monitoring Project found that worldwide, women make up only 24 percent of the people “interviewed, heard, seen, or read about in mainstream broadcast and print news.”
Also from Newsweek, Jesse Ellison writes about the Senate’s inability to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this week. Ellison explains that ensuring fair wages for women ultimately helps everyone:
But consider that men have been the victims of this recession in record numbers, to the point that it’s frequently called the “mancession” and that it has led to a 36 percent increase in the number of families depending on women’s earnings in the last year alone. Sure, those businesses may be saving money by paying those women less than they would have had to pay men, but is it really in the interest of the American public—yes, those small business owners included—to allow them to save at the expense of families? At 77 cents on the dollar, women will lose an average of $431,000 in pay over 40 years. Those losses in income don’t just represent money in the bank. That’s money that could have been spent, and spent wisely. When you consider that women reinvest 90 percent of their income into their own community and family (vs. just the 30 to 40 percent that men invest), the impact could have been particularly powerful.
We’d like to think that Canonball has the power to set the literary agenda. And maybe someone’s listening, because women were the recipients of the National Book Award prizes for both fiction and non-fiction this year, The New York Times reported. Jaimy Gordon’s Lord of Misrule and Patti Smith’s Just Kids were the respective winners in a year that saw a record number of nominations for women. Not nominated? A certain novel that inadvertently sparked an Internet debate on the devaluation of women’s writing:
In a well-worn tradition, the list of finalists inspired some grumbling from publishing insiders who objected that the choices were too obscure. Most notably, Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, “Freedom,” which was a literary sensation this year, did not make the cut.
Anita Sarkeesian talks about the prevalence of restrictive gender roles in commercials for children’s toys at Bitch. She concludes that kids and ads don’t mix:
I was originally going to say that “We need to hold the media accountable for what they are teaching our young people” but no, really, advertising directed specifically at young people needs to STOP altogether, no exceptions. A precedent has already been set to implement these types of restrictions. Quebec has banned print and broadcast advertisements for youth under the age of 13 and Sweden has banned advertisements for youth under the age of 12.
The ladies of the Pursuit of Harpyness air their grievances with the growing Wedding Industrial Complex and the pressure it places on women to fulfill a very specific “destiny.” Becky Sharper explains:
It has been suggested to me more than once that the fact that I hate all the [Wedding Industry Complex] bullshit is because I’m not married and therefore a dried-up, bitter old hag who can’t be happy for anyone because I’m jealous that they’re married but I’m not. But really, my objections have nothing to do with that and everything to do with the crass materialism and chauvinism of the whole deal, and with the fact that it glorifies only one type of relationship.
Finally, Jessica Olien of Slate takes a look at the working habits of Dutch women. Despite being “extremely progressive” and having “enviable reproductive rights and rates of political participation,” less than 10 percent of them work full-time, and a full 25 percent of them don’t make enough money to be financially independent. Olien questions if hardworking American women have got their priorities wrong:
Women in the United States have become defined by the compromises we make. More than 75 percent of American women who are employed work full-time jobs. As our responsibilities increase at work, they do not shrink at home. We give up time with our families for our careers, and after work we give up other interests for time spent with our children and spouses—because there are only so many hours in a day. Because of part-time work, Dutch women are able to develop themselves and their relationships in ways many of us simply don’t have the time for.
We’d say that a push for men’s responsibilities to increase at home might be a good start for giving American women more time for themselves. But leaving work at 2 p.m. sounds pretty good too.