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Suggestions

I guess I should give it the old excerpt, because this is important:

Barbara Ehrenreich is a hugely best selling writer whose been hard at work and famous for decades. She wrote great columns on the New York Times op-ed page when filling in for Tom Friedman — so why isn't she at The Times (soon to be seven men plus Maureen Dowd) or the Washington Post (18 male pundits plus Anne Applebaum)? Other names off the top of my head: Debra Dickerson, Ruth Rosen, Dahlia Lithwick, Nina Totenberg, Rebecca Traister, Joan Walsh, Sharon Lerner, Wendy Kaminer, Ruth Conniff, Laura Flanders, Natalie Angier, etc. etc. etc! Why doesn't Time (11 columnists, no women, even in Arts and entertainment) give Molly Ivins a slot?
Right, quite so. These are mostly people with politics in the neighborhood of Pollitt's, which is to say to the left of mine. But I have no doubt whatsoever that if we asked the conservative blogosphere to produce a list of 15 conservative or libertarian women who they think deserve wider prominence, they'd have no trouble producing such a list. And of course Katha Pollitt (or Katrina Vanden Heuvel) could have a column in a major newspaper. Hannah Allam has done consistently excellent reporting from Iraq for Knight-Ridder and I'm reasonably sure she could be writing a consistently excellent and insightful opinion column for the chain. This isn't really that hard and there's plenty of time in the day to think it over. Now, given that women are underrepresented in the ranks of punditry way down at the level of college papers, it might wind up being a bit of a stretch to achieve short-term parity. But it would be easy to get closer to parity in the short-term, and I think there's every reason to believe that more women would develop an interest in the field as students if there were more women writing prominent columns.

March 22, 2005 | Permalink

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Comments

Interesting how this whole thing got started with Susan Estrich's essentially Republican tactic.

Posted by: theCoach | Mar 22, 2005 4:24:10 PM

Most fresh college graduates don't bypass the crime blotter/ obit desk and go straight to the op-ed pages. So, you've got to start your examination of the problem in the newsroom.

Posted by: Roxanne | Mar 22, 2005 4:31:19 PM

I wonder, though, if the Estrich approach is going to do more harm than good. Sure, the topic is being discussed a lot more in the Blog world, but that and $1.50 will get you a decent cup of coffee. But if I was the editor of a major newpaper, Estrich's disgusting behavior would make me MUCH LESS likely to hire more women op-ed writers. It would just feel too much like surrendering to terrorism.

I mean, it's not like editors were unaware of the problem before Estrich decided to embarrass herself in front of the entire nation. They were aware of the problem, and choose to do nothing. And how, exactly, are Estrich's insane ramblings supposed to change those minds?

And keep in mind, I think Matt is 100% right, there is a lot we can, and should do, right now, to increase the number of women op-ed writers. But man, oh, man, the fact that such a move would put a smile on Estrich's face does not make me happy.

Posted by: LarryM | Mar 22, 2005 4:34:52 PM

A shout out to Christiane Amanpour, my favorite TV reporter, that dying breed.

Posted by: John Isbell | Mar 22, 2005 4:36:04 PM

Katha, herself, deserves much wider dissemination.

Her anaolgy to Title IX is spot on.

The hard part though, is what to do about it. You can't mandate equal numbers of women in punditry. My gut says the only real solution is for the editors of today and tomorrow to be more aware of their existence and some sort of equilibrium will eventually be achieved.

Posted by: def | Mar 22, 2005 4:50:35 PM

Nina Totenberg?

Posted by: praktike | Mar 22, 2005 4:51:08 PM

Yeah, Nina. Plagiarism-shmlagiarism.

Posted by: TJ | Mar 22, 2005 5:17:33 PM

It's interesting that women have systematically been hired for TV newscasting -- always cute, perky, slender women -- and no one complains.

Since this has happened at exactly the same time that TV news has been dumbed down, no stereotypes have been violated, and misogynists haven't had their prejudices challenged much to speak of. Hiring Maureen Dowd to be the token at whichever newspaper she's at has had the same effect -- she's fluffy, gossipy, and bitchy. (It should have been Ivins, of course.)

Posted by: John Emerson | Mar 22, 2005 5:49:34 PM

Matthew forgot something. Left women have an even bigger problem than their gender. Lefties don't get hired as pundits. Period. Or not. (Angry centrists, like Krugman, are not lefties.) Of course, cons get hired as pundits, and get called "moderates." Angry cons get hired: "controversial" or "bracing."

Posted by: Joe S. | Mar 22, 2005 6:01:01 PM

Is punditry really a "field"?

Posted by: david | Mar 22, 2005 7:23:49 PM

Karen de Coster and Ilana Mercer, obviously.

Posted by: Glaivester | Mar 22, 2005 7:31:27 PM

kathleen hall jameson
linda ellerby

Posted by: J2 | Mar 22, 2005 7:49:46 PM

"women are underrepresented in the ranks of punditry way down at the level of college papers, it might wind up being a bit of a stretch to achieve short-term parity."

Well, then, shame on anyone who edited a college paper in the last few years!

Posted by: rea | Mar 22, 2005 8:29:14 PM

praktike: "Nina Totenberg?" I agree with the sentiment completely.

Posted by: Abby | Mar 22, 2005 10:10:56 PM

Mr. Yglesias: You say, "...there's every reason to believe that more women would develop an interest in the field as students if there were more women writing prominent columns."

This satement troubles me, because embedded within it is the assumption that being a columnist is a career goal in itself, independent of gaining expertise in any field that might be of interest to readers. That might be fine for producing Dowds and Coulters, but the best columnists are those who can apply in-depth knowledge to their analysis -- they will not obtain such knowledge by writing columns.

Posted by: sammler | Mar 23, 2005 4:54:49 AM

Mateo,

I posted this over at "Political Animal" - but IMHO this sturm und drang by Katha y Susana es puro pedo...

Katha,

I'd take your comments seriously and to heart if the Nation had Latinas/os with columns and if you had employed Latinas/os as writers instead of as stringers. The reality is that once again you've demonstrated that your praxis is hypocritical and Anglo-centric.

Hijole -- you could have done something to make the Nation into something that could have reflected nosotros -- instead you kept right on producing something that didn't cover or deal with Hispanics except as an afterthought or footnote to the Anglo world. Explica a me por favor how you can justify such a praxis and then write with all this self-righteous indignation when the Nation after your editorship continued its Anglo-centric perspective.

IMHO folks that live in glass houses shouldn't be tossing rocks.

Siempre en la lucha.....

El Pocho

Posted by: ElPocho | Mar 23, 2005 7:36:05 AM

All victims must be mentione simultaneously, apparently.

Posted by: John Emerson | Mar 23, 2005 8:30:18 AM

Matt,

What is your explanation for the relative dearth of women editors/writers at the college level? Is is sexism on the part of the senior editorial boards? Socialization in the classroom? Pervasive discrimination against women students?

As a recent grad, surely you have some views on this.

Posted by: DBL | Mar 23, 2005 2:56:34 PM

"What is your explanation for the relative dearth of women editors/writers at the college level? Is is sexism on the part of the senior editorial boards? Socialization in the classroom? Pervasive discrimination against women students?"

This is an especially interesting question as there are now more female than male undergraduates. Dept of Education statistics show that in 2001 there were 7.7 Million female vs 6 Million male undergraduates.

Posted by: Campesino | Mar 23, 2005 4:11:13 PM

Chale...what's with the "All victims must be mentione simultaneously, apparently." IMHO the vato should learn how to spell en engles. When I run into puffery like that -- I always wonder just what espacio the vata/o lives in that makes them feel so glib that all they need to do is wave their mitts and dismiss a big chunk of the gente that live in this country.

It is even funnier when you think that this bit of pendejada is going on in a blog run by Yglesias.

Posted by: ElPocho | Mar 24, 2005 1:04:39 AM

El Pocho: I am not aware that Mr. Yglesias has ever attempted to use the ethnicity his name suggests to gain any advantage, however minor. For my own part, I do not see that Mr. Emerson's dismissal of "victims" was equivalent to a dismissal of any people.

Posted by: sammler | Mar 24, 2005 5:58:41 AM

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