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Kelly writes: "Barely a fifth of op-ed articles in major newspapers are written by women. Yes, they're boys' clubs - but that's not the whole issue."

The OpEd Project recently found that a mere 20% of op-eds are written by women. (photo: MomItForward.com)
The OpEd Project recently found that a mere 20% of op-eds are written by women. (photo: MomItForward.com)



Why Women Have No Opinions

By Maura Kelly, Guardian UK

14 June 12

 

early a hundred years since women won the right to vote, their political and societal power is still only a fifth of what it should be – if the most influential space in major newspapers is any indicator. As the OpEd Project, an organization that aims to diversify public debate, recently found, a mere 20% of op-eds are written by women.

Researcher Taryn Yaeger looked at 7,000 pieces that appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal between 15 September and 7 December 2011, and found that while women wrote more frequently than men about so-called "pink" topics (like family concerns and home life), they were almost mute on matters such as Occupy Wall Street and other protests or rallies (14% of commentaries), international politics (13%), and the economy (11%).

Op-ed writers help to determine what the news is. They influence what we, as a country, contemplate and care about, and how we think of the big stories of the day. So when half of the population barely contributes to public forums that provoke so much discussion and action, democracy falters.

"The people we hear from on the issues of the day effectively narrate the world," says Katherine Lanpher, an instructor for the Op-Ed Project, a group that works to increase the diversity of voices in the media:

"Op-eds aren't about writing. They're about power. They are a relatively simple tool that can lead to influence."

And when women don't exercise that power, they lose it. By being effectively absent from "the conversation" much of the time, they're not exerting as much influence as they could and should – which also means it's easier for the issues significant to them to get swept under the rug, or decided by people who do not have ovaries.

Take, for instance, the question of reproductive rights. While it's hard to draw a direct correlation between women's under-representation in the op-ed pages and the scary way that coverage for birth control and access to safe abortions have come under attack recently, it seems fair to suggest that there might be a link. After all, men control close to half of the dialogue about what it is to be a contemporary female: astonishingly, females wrote a mere 53% of op-eds even on "women's issues".

"What this [op-ed imbalance] brings to mind, in particular, is the recent all-male congressional hearing on contraception," says Anika Rahman, Ms Foundation president and CEO. What's she's referring to is a February meeting of the House committee on oversight and government reform; five male representatives – and not a single female – got together to voice their objections to a new federal law requiring employers to waive any co-pay fees for birth control.

Admittedly, there does not seem to be much of a gender gap when it comes to opinions about birth control coverage. But perhaps that has something to do with the way so many men in America – from religious leaders, to politicians, to, yes, op-ed writers – are still telling women what to think about their bodies, their health, and their future.

It's not just on Capitol Hill, however, that women often aren't given a chance to speak about their issues. On television, too, they're often shut out. "During the debate on birth control, cable networks called on male guests to talk about it by a margin of nearly two to one," Lanpher notes. (Let's not forget that women are minority voices in the film industry and on corporate boards, too.)

What's surprising, however, is that even when there are no gatekeepers to exclude them, no old boys' network to shut them out, women still aren't piping up enough, as evidenced by Wikipedia, where 85% of the contributions come from men. Does that mean that women are silent by choice? Does it imply that they're so under-represented in the most important sections of our major news media because they choose not to participate? Unfortunately, that seems partly true.

A significant part of the problem appears to be that women just don't have confidence that their opinions matter, or that they are informed enough. Therefore, they don't bother aiming for the op-ed pages. Says Lanpher:

"Women and other minority voices, in my experience, are usually the first people to say, 'Oh, I'm not an expert in that, you could find someone better to talk to,'" "'What if someone who knows more calls me on it?''

It seems, in other words, that a lack of self-confidence is part of the problem. But there's an ouroboros element to women's insecurity: it's understandable, if lamentable, that they have trouble thinking of themselves as experts when four out of five of the pontificators in the mainstream media are males – and a very specific kind of male, at that. "Close to 80% or more of the participants in public conversation are white men of a particular social strata who went to the same schools," says Lanpher. "If you don't match up, you're going to hesitate to put yourself out there."

Sue Horton, the op-ed and Sunday opinion editor for the Los Angeles Times, made a similar point recently while talking to Erika Fry, a writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. Fry summarized Horton's take this way:

"Submissions from women are more likely to be from writers who are particularly informed, while a much greater share of submissions from men are 'dinner party op-eds' – pieces written because the author has an opinion on the subject, not because of any particular standing or expertise."

Women will write in when they feel certain they have specialized knowledge of a subject, whereas men don't feel they need much more than a strong opinion or an interesting idea. We females need to remember this the next time we're at a dinner party: men aren't necessarily more expert than us, even if they're more more likely to be bloviators – at friends' houses, as well as in illustrious publications.

If we women started speaking up more often in private settings, perhaps we'd find our voices – and feel more empowered to speak our minds publicly and prominently, too.

 

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+40 # caniscandida 2012-06-14 10:51
Men are more naturally competitive, I suspect. They can make a game out of anything. And getting an essay printed as an op-ed is a kind of victory in a game.

Women can be competitive too, but not in the same way. Their identity and self-esteem do not seem to depend so much on winning games.
 
 
+18 # readerz 2012-06-14 12:57
I disagree, not simply to form an argument, but consider: girls develop and hone the art of gossip, and it is not always flattering. But, women who have children learn to put aside opinions in favor of expediency and practicality; whatever works to bring a family into harmony.

Women at extended family dinner parties can come up against the in-laws loud mouthed bigots. I used to join in the arguments, and my mother-in-law told me to just stay out of it because nobody paid attention to the loud mouths anyway. I found that she was not correct, but that she had learned to stay quiet as a defense, and the loud mouths didn't care what they talked about as long as they dominated everybody else. For the last eight years of her life, she stopped talking altogether. Is that a way to live as a human being? Maybe every woman (who wants to) should submit op-eds to the newspapers just to see if any are printed.
 
 
+15 # Glen 2012-06-14 15:52
Agreed, readerz, but I have also known older men who stopped talking also. Older folks in the U.S. do not get respect whether male or female, generally speaking. I have known loudmouth women who folks stepped aside for on a job level, except that men could put them down. The men made the big decisions, just as they often do in families.
 
 
+1 # RLF 2012-06-15 04:10
I wish I had the wisdom and control to stop myself from talking...maybe not entirely but way less!
 
 
+4 # maddave 2012-06-15 08:00
RLF....
Quoting RLF:
I wish I had the wisdom and control to stop myself from talking...maybe not entirely but way less!


You already have half of the problem in hand: you recognize a fault in yourself that is common amongst people with strongly held emotions. Let me presume to offer some timeless advice:
1. Always listen carefully to what your adversary is saying--you may have some things uncommon.
2. You change the world one little b it at a time. Choose your shots carefully: DO NOT try to supersaturate your audience with an all-encompassin g grant. .
3. What one needs to succeed in ANYTHING is enough guts to get started (which you have) and enough intelligence/in sight to know when to quit. ("Enough is too much!" Always leave 'em asking for more.)
 
 
+9 # Glen 2012-06-15 08:23
Often, it is not that you are talking, it is what you are saying. Also, whether you have a considerate dialog or group discussion among folks who talk, but also consider what they say.

I have learned that most folks are not at all interested in learning. They just want to win.
 
 
+8 # maddave 2012-06-15 07:26
readerz: What a pathetic life your mother-in-law settled for! In your comment were all of the elements that justified an exact opposite response to loud-mouth idiots---and, Yes!, i'm talking to you, Rush. When confronted, everyone---in this case women with well-thought-ou t-positions---h ave the right, indeed the obligation-to-o ne's-self, to stand up and state that position, whether with speech, letters to the editor, Op-Ed submissions or placards on street corners!

Deeply held-but-supres ed convictions are cancers that need the clean fresh, palliative air of expression amongst one's peers. How unlike a a solitary-confin ement prison is self-imposed silence?

Caveat: By voicing an (adverse) opinion, you will invariably provoke an exchange, and it is through honest exchanges that one is forced to evaluate and justify one's philosophy---to one's self. At times one cannot "justify" and, thus, we learn humility and, in the best of all worlds, banish our own fanaticism & orthodoxy.

You go, Gal!
 
 
+2 # sgmp 2012-06-16 05:41
Quoting readerz:
I disagree, not simply to form an argument, but consider: girls develop and hone the art of gossip, and it is not always flattering. But, women who have children learn to put aside opinions in favor of expediency and practicality; whatever works to bring a family into harmony.

Women at extended family dinner parties can come up against the in-laws loud mouthed bigots. I used to join in the arguments, and my mother-in-law told me to just stay out of it because nobody paid attention to the loud mouths anyway. I found that she was not correct, but that she had learned to stay quiet as a defense, and the loud mouths didn't care what they talked about as long as they dominated everybody else. For the last eight years of her life, she stopped talking altogether. Is that a way to live as a human being? Maybe every woman (who wants to) should submit op-eds to the newspapers just to see if any are printed.



I have often asked myself why older women seem to become quieter and quieter. Some old men do, too. but doesn't seem to be as often as old women. I am living it now. I think you are right.
 
 
+4 # maddave 2012-06-15 06:51
Quoting caniscandida:
Men ar-oiuty?e more naturally competitive, . . . .


Is this attitude ""conventional wisdom" or is it a cop out? I tend to see it as a cop out in just the same light as I see a multitude of "Joe Sixpak's" habitually, blindly embracing GOP candidates who openly stand espouse interests diametrically opposite from "Joe's". Were females honestly and thoughtfully interested-in-a nd-dedicated-to furthering so-called "female issues", then the political landscape of this country would be vastly different from what we have today.
Better? Maybe.
Worse? Possibly, thought I don't see how.
But in any case,"different ", and I---a guy---am ready for a change.
 
 
+7 # The Voice of Reason 2012-06-15 20:57
100 years ago, Abdu'l-Baha, the son of the Prophet Baha'u'llah, said when He visited America:

'So it will come to pass that when women participate fully and equally in the affairs of the world, when they enter confidently and capably the great arena of laws and politics, war will cease; for woman will be the obstacle and hindrance to it. This is true and without doubt.'

Tahireh, the first woman to believe in Baha'u'llah's Herald, the Bab (the Promised Christ) stood up for equality in 1850. She was murdered by the Iranian government, but before she offered her life she said:

'You can kill me as soon as you like, but you cannot stop the emancipation of women."

This process is unstoppable, though at times it seems like it is not moving. The poor women in the Middle East Islamic republics must be liberated from their burden. The people of the West hide their shame in their ignorance, while needless suffering continues.
 
 
+2 # genierae 2012-06-16 10:48
Competition is not natural to us, it is a learned behavior, and it is very destructive to societies. Cooperation is our natural instinct, and if the ego were under control human beings would be at peace with each other. The ego fueled by testosterone, produces competition in men, and since women aren't ruled by testosterone, they are less inclined to compete. I think that there should be a constitutional amendment mandating that half of the elective offices in this country should be held by women, and the presidency should be one man, one woman, 50/50, with a group of enlightened elders to advise them. This country would be transformed, and there would be no more wars.
 
 
+67 # fredboy 2012-06-14 11:23
A problem is a challenge that creates opportunities. I urge brilliant, focused, courageous and well reasoned women to share their wisdom and guidance. Please, influence us. The world needs you.
 
 
+13 # readerz 2012-06-14 13:00
I would like average, scattered, timid, and illogical women to share our opinions, and that will be about the same as most men. I wish I were kidding; maybe if people actually read something by a woman as vapid, tedious, and redundant as men they would get the idea that anybody has a right to their opinion.
 
 
+94 # firefly 2012-06-14 11:34
Another possible reason women do not write as many op-ed pieces is that many of them are working madly trying to support households and then we go home and do a huge percentage of the caregiving and housekeeping. It is hard to find time to think, much less write, when one is quite so busy keeping all the balls in the air.
 
 
+7 # readerz 2012-06-14 13:01
But men are paid for those op-eds, and columns, and reporting; where are the women, indeed?
 
 
+48 # ghost122 2012-06-14 11:49
One other factor not considered here is that the editorial boards of most papers are made up of men...and they are the ones who select which op-eds to publish. Women's writings get selected less often in part because of this. So, while as many may possibly be written, if they're not selected for publication, their voices still won't be heard.
 
 
+3 # humactdoc 2012-06-16 08:14
Agreed. What percentage of submitted op-eds are from women and what criteria determines which are published? What is the gender ratio of the editorial boards/personne l that make the op-ed selections?
 
 
+35 # Lulie 2012-06-14 12:13
What a novel idea -- that you should actually know what you're talking about before you shoot your mouth off.
 
 
+43 # Glen 2012-06-14 12:13
This is complicated, and the history of the suppression of women began centuries ago, and the lingering effects today, even in the U.S., are most evident.

Even strong women can be intimidated by the most powerful, who are usually men. If they succumb to that power they join the league of driven, power society that ignores decent women AND men.

I have witnessed decent women, with a woman's intelligence and sincere effort to accommodate, be either driven from their career or forced to morph into male thinking.

Child rearing, society at large, religion, and male favoritism, contribute to women losing their contribution to society and intelligent discourse. A sad loss.
 
 
+30 # cherylpetro 2012-06-14 12:18
Are we still living in the times when a woman had to use a nom de plume, like George Sand? As long as a feminine name isn't apparent; it will be okay? What a load of BS! We may have won a few battles, but the war is far from over!
 
 
+9 # readerz 2012-06-14 13:10
There was a time when I wrote almost all the articles for a magazine under a nom de plume. I enjoyed it, because if I blogged on the internet under my own name about anything, the same people who subscribed to the magazine would marginalize anything I said, and try to turn the discussion into women's issues (I preferred to focus on other issues at the time). Obviously, I still prefer a nom de plume; it's just easier that way, but I almost always identify myself as a woman, if it has anything to do with a discussion.
 
 
+52 # Patch 2012-06-14 12:21
Each of the first four comments here makes an excellent point. Here's my view.

I'm in my early 70s and I no longer care if I'm attractive to men. When I was young it was "dangerous" to speak out because you would be rejected, thought of as "odd" or shunned in some way. I know women have gained much in the ensuing years, but perhaps some of this still applies.

Just the other day at lunch I disagreed with a man my age on a political issue and while he didn't say anything directly to me I could tell he was livid that a "mere" woman disagreed with him. My reaction was F*** U but would a younger woman react the same way?
 
 
+7 # Carlosmik 2012-06-14 13:59
Yes! My wife does all the time.
 
 
+19 # Majikman 2012-06-14 14:43
Excellent points, Patch. In my 20's I feared confrontation. By my 30's when I was competing in a male dominated world I had learned that men are conditioned from childhood to be competitive team players, whereas women are allowed to compete only with each other. A women who competes on the male playground is on her own and no one "has her back". Therefore, I used every trick in the book to my advantage, a strategy that is very frightening to men who demand we play by rules we were never taught.
 
 
+3 # dovelane1 2012-06-15 00:03
I believe their are at least two ways to look at and experience competition. I believe you speak about the more common or prevalent kind - the dog-eat-dog, win at any cost kind of competition.

For those whose self-image is tied in to "winning," or being better than everyone else, of course they will take contradiction personally.

There is, I believe, a Zen way of looking at competiton, where the other person, male or female, is seen as a foil, as a way of challenging us to become more or better than we are. What the other person does or says is, then, not taken personally, as their is no threat to the self-image.

Competition of the former variety may, as has been written, bring out the best in products, but the worst in people.

It's also been written that friends do two things for us: they support us, and they challenge us. Support helps us with our balance, but it is challenge that keeps us growing. How many people do you know want a lot of support, but little challenge?
 
 
+3 # Majikman 2012-06-15 14:14
I can see what you're saying, but it's more complex than simply "dog-eat-dog" in the corporate world. Men are trained in team work, where the success of the team is paramount. There may be a star player, but only insofar as he contributes to the team's success. I think a male's self image is dependent on that success. ergo: chauvinistic "USA no.1", militarism, etc.
Women OTOH (at least in my generation) were allowed competition only with each other for male attention and approval.A high achieving, alpha female who doesn't understand the team ethos is not tolerated. She will be either sidelined (shut up) or given a pedestal where she cannot affect the team.
I think a woman's self image, self esteem, is determined by what she allows others to dictate what she should do, be or think or what she herself has decided what to do, be or think.
My teeth itch when I see a man demean his wife in public and she tolerates it rather than make a scene.
Friends, as opposed to the work place, can be supportive and/or challenging
....they can also stymie us with all good intentions in the name of "safety".
The balance of support vs. challenge is perception, I think.
 
 
+6 # dovelane1 2012-06-15 00:21
PS. My mentor in college once told me that all friends really end up being are two people who develop ways of resolving conflicts where both people are satisfied with the resolution. In order to resolve conflicts, however, both people have to see the other person as an equal. If that doesn't happen, what you have then is a power structure, where one or both people feel as if they are either better than or worse than the other person.

The way I try to make everyone else my equal is to see myself as a human being first, and then look at everyone else as a human being as well. Everything that I am as a person then becomes a sub-heading under the main heading of Human Being. For instance, I could be a black female, who plays saxophone, who loves to bowl and fish, who is an accountant, and so on. Those are all parts of my being a human being.

The people I find hardest to deal with are those who have learned to pigeon-hole themselves, and can only interact with others on the basis of the ways in which they have learned to pigeon-hole themselves.

One of the things both men and women have learned to do is use their gender as the main heading. When that happens, they will then react to others based on what they've learned to believe about both their own gender, and the "others" gender.

Change the perspective, and you change the interaction. Easy to say, not so easy to do.
 
 
+19 # ABen 2012-06-14 19:08
Good for you. My wife of 34 years has a PhD. and a very easy going and receptive personality. However, she also is very intelligent and possesses a spine of steel; several times I have watched her verbally slice and dice some ill-informed fool (usually but not always a man) who decided to try to bully her into backing down or who treated her with condescension. She does not suffer fools gladly and I love her for that.
 
 
+37 # chrisconnolly 2012-06-14 12:22
I have found that speaking up means either/and/or raising my voice because men seem to just elevate their volume when I am trying to speak, what I am saying is just ignored, I will be referred to as a bitch if I don't completely agree with what's being discussed. Men just tend to exclude a woman who speaks her mind even if we are experts on what we a speaking, or attempting to speak about. I have met few men who can allow that I might know something, anything more than they do about any topic. It gets exasperating.
 
 
+4 # dawn99 2012-06-15 21:54
Quoting chrisconnolly:
I have found that speaking up means either/and/or raising my voice because men seem to just elevate their volume when I am trying to speak, what I am saying is just ignored, I will be referred to as a bitch if I don't completely agree with what's being discussed. Men just tend to exclude a woman who speaks her mind even if we are experts on what we a speaking, or attempting to speak about. I have met few men who can allow that I might know something, anything more than they do about any topic. It gets exasperating.



EXACTLY!
 
 
+43 # DLT888 2012-06-14 12:22
I think this article missed a lot. The reason women don't have many published Op Ed pieces is because they are REJECTED by editors who favor the opinions written by males!! Women -- want a newspaper to publish your piece or want your op ed published on-line --- Use a male name, and then watch and see your piece get published. Women have PLENTY OF OPINIONS are very VERY VOCAL about it -- but the patriarchal system wants you to think otherwise. Even other women get brainwashed by the patriarchal system and decline to print women's op ed pieces.
 
 
+17 # Billsy 2012-06-14 12:24
It's been my experience, supported by friends who work in mental health, that women tend to be rather codependent in relationships with men, deferring to their male partners when it comes to disagreements and choices. Preferring to be silent rather than upset or antagonize their male counterparts. While this may keep peace in a relationship, it does so at significant cost. Mind you this is a sweeping generality for i've known many strong minded women who speak with great confidence.

I so wish we lived in a society that placed more value in women's health and well being, giving them the respect they so deserve. We men also deserve to be challenged more by our female friends, spouses and partners. Ridiculous that so few women serve as our representatives and in leadership roles, while many that do, ape the worst of classic male attitudes such as dominance and intolerance. Society could use a lot more nurturing and a lot less dominance and arrogance.
 
 
+35 # Professorjane Gilgun 2012-06-14 12:44
Co-dependent? We live in a society that rewards men to ignore women's opinions or to shout women down when we express them. These behaviors teach women to be quiet or be punished if they are not quiet. Let's change beliefs about women and their opinions. Then women will take their rightful places in public discourse. Think of what the Roman Catholic Church would be if the male hierarchy listened to their opinions.
 
 
+12 # dmcquaide 2012-06-15 05:41
We also live in a society where the three major religions are patriarchal. How many women go to church every week and are indoctrinated to believe in and raise their children according to the laws of "God." Laws actually written and interpreted by mere mortal men. How do we change women's beliefs and opinions who are raised in this environment?.
 
 
+7 # dawn99 2012-06-15 21:53
Quoting dmcquaide:
We also live in a society where the three major religions are patriarchal. How many women go to church every week and are indoctrinated to believe in and raise their children according to the laws of "God." Laws actually written and interpreted by mere mortal men. How do we change women's beliefs and opinions who are raised in this environment?.



Don't go to church
 
 
+15 # Glen 2012-06-14 16:49
Billsy, don't forget testosterone and the power of the male body, generally, in a relationship at home or work. That is an intimidating aspect of male female interaction: the power to overpower.

For generations men held their financial power over women, until women began working voluntarily and became more educated. Men who feel women do not need them lash out to rein them in. The strongest men realize it is a benefit to partner with a woman who does not NEED him, but WANTS HIM.

Men have fears, and being dominated by a woman is as much a fear as being dominated by another man.
 
 
+26 # laurele 2012-06-14 12:34
I am a woman journalist who has absolutely NO interest in writing about family concerns and home life and every interest in writing about Occupy Wall Street and politics from a progressive point of view. I'm a good writer and have plenty of confidence that my opinions matter. Most of those opinions are now expressed in blogs and small local publications. I would like opportunities to write for bigger publications. Email me at laurelkornfeld@netzero.net . You won't be sorry.
 
 
+11 # readerz 2012-06-14 13:03
I would like to see you submit your work to major publications then.
 
 
+31 # Brooklyn Girl 2012-06-14 12:42
"We females need to remember this the next time we're at a dinner party: men aren't necessarily more expert than us, even if they're more more likely to be bloviators – at friends' houses, as well as in illustrious publications."

Many men also aren't used to women standing up to them, and they don't like being contradicted. I was shocked (and shouldn't have been, in retrospect) when I was at a party in which all the men were sitting around the table, talking about current affairs, and all the women were out by the pool. I chose to sit with the men. At one point during the conversation, I said that in a truly democratic society, half of our politicians would be women. One of the men cut me off and said, "We don't live in a democracy, we live in a republic." So?
 
 
+5 # thymesup 2012-06-14 14:21
i've gotten that distinction before, too. what does it really mean??
 
 
+3 # hbheinze 2012-06-14 15:06
I've looked it up in the dictionary, & it still doesn't make sense. They sound the same to me.....
 
 
+10 # readerz 2012-06-14 19:14
Don't forget that many neo-cons have re-defined many words in a way that contradicts the dictionary. Certainly, language evolves, but to take a term like Nazi and tie it to liberals is truly backward. The dictionary is right, until the neo-cons rewrite it. But they might mean that in a Republic, there isn't a fully equal democracy.

When America was founded, the republic consisted of state legislatures that would appoint Senators and Electors (who would elect the President). Andrew Jackson was the first President who was actually elected by "popular" vote, but after the good ol' boys nomination system.. Because of the 1968 Democratic Convention where the good ol' boys forced Humphrey on us (and he had been a good supporter of civil rights, but unfortunately a rubber stamp for the Vietnam War), it was decided that popular vote even in the Primaries would actually determine who would be nominated from the political parties. On the Federal level, we have a democracy (sort of), except that our representation is not equal (Senators and Electors from small states have much more power per population than from large. The smallest states are unequal even in the Representatives .)

It's funny. I wasn't a great history student (teacher was right-wing, and I tended to disagree all the time), but I can sure remember the separation of powers etc., and the propaganda that the small states ought to rule the bigger states for some reason.
 
 
+10 # Glen 2012-06-14 16:42
Even I have found it refreshing to get away from the men and join the women at certain events. The men can be pompous and overbearing in the "discussions" at table. Women, often, are talking about lightweight stuff appropriate to a party or dinner party. Men can also be pretty dismissive of other men in those pompous opinions.

Those men, however are not necessarily in power. They are merely closed-minded and opinionated.
 
 
+4 # Mrcead 2012-06-14 20:20
Don't read too deeply into that. Men contradict other men constantly so don't take it personally. I've had the same Democracy/Repub lic debate with other men many times and it is just how most are wired. We don't really communicate, we just take turns talking. Big difference. Think of it as courteous posturing - interrupt and correct then get interrupted and corrected - but don't get into an argument unless you want to get into an argument. That's why I don't talk politics in person.

Just look at every internet bulletin board with men on it, 90% of the pixels are wasted on posturing.
 
 
+4 # dawn99 2012-06-15 21:52
Quoting Brooklyn Girl:
"We females need to remember this the next time we're at a dinner party: men aren't necessarily more expert than us, even if they're more more likely to be bloviators – at friends' houses, as well as in illustrious publications."

Many men also aren't used to women standing up to them, and they don't like being contradicted. I was shocked (and shouldn't have been, in retrospect) when I was at a party in which all the men were sitting around the table, talking about current affairs, and all the women were out by the pool. I chose to sit with the men. At one point during the conversation, I said that in a truly democratic society, half of our politicians would be women. One of the men cut me off and said, "We don't live in a democracy, we live in a republic." So?



I agree with you. Many men, reflexively, respond to the sound of a female voice without hearing any of the words. Some just listen and hope for intimacy. Some REFUSE to hear ANY woman-sounds EVER
 
 
+15 # sophiacat1 2012-06-14 12:58
I think she hits the nail on the head, when she mentions that men feel free to express their opinions despite the fact that they have no experience on the topic. We must learn to be shameless bloviators. The expertise that we DO have, is where we have a real world sense of how ideologies and policies impact people on a personal level. We know what cuts to Medicaid and Medicare mean, and we care that poor children lose health care. We know our elderly parents would be lost without Medicare. We know and care about disabled children-- and we care if Social Security disability is cut. Cutting social safety net programs means that families suffer more. Why Republican men are not seeing the problems is beyond me. But it is obvious that they care more about party ideology than the harm these policies do to all of us.
 
 
+4 # readerz 2012-06-14 18:35
They figure that men just die more quickly, or they will have family to take care of them if they get sick. Women are not living longer now on average because of the work load and a host of stress-related diseases that affect mostly women, so men will have to buy their care. The going rate for non-nursing care is usually $20 per hour; times 24 hours a day and 30 days a month that's $720 per month; add to that food, money management, transportation to the doctor, and some higher-costing nursing care. Guys, I hope your children aren't too busy.
 
 
+3 # carolsj 2012-06-14 20:53
$20/hr times 24 hrs times 30 days is $14,400. Even if care is only 8 hrs/day it comes to $4,800 per month. If you can find a sitter for $10/hr you still have to come up with $2,400 per month or $600/week.
 
 
+20 # sophiacat1 2012-06-14 12:59
GOP bumper sticker-- Conservatives-T rying to make life miserable for people since 1968.
 
 
0 # Cassandra2012 2012-07-10 12:55
Quoting sophiacat1:
GOP bumper sticker-- Conservatives-Trying to make life miserable for people since 1968.

Except that these are not 'conservatives' [regardless of the Rovian manipulations of langauge] but rather right wing radical extremists ... .
 
 
+7 # readerz 2012-06-14 13:24
Women buy the products advertised in media more than 50 percent of the time. This was noticed in early radio when my grandmother was an announcer for a radio in Chicago in the 1930s. (She blamed herself for the invention of the soap opera; the soap companies wanted to attract women audiences to sell their products.) So, why have the advertisers and owners of media been blacking out women since the 1940s? I really do want to know, and it would take some research into the subject.

Your research showed 1/5 (20 percent) of op-eds were by women, but most of these were about the home. STILL? Not even 3/5 of a person? But then you stated that pieces about hard news by women are less than 14 percent (about 1/7). Come on, guys, for that low a figure, it means you expect us to have no voice and no equality, less than we did a century ago. But women today enjoy a full day at work, a full evening of childcare, and a full night of housekeeping. If you won't give us a voice, it's high time that you let us keep all our income, and paid us for housework and childcare. If you want a "traditional" woman, you better pony up the percentage of support that women enjoyed 50 years ago.
 
 
+2 # Counselor1 2012-06-14 13:36
Go for it, women!
 
 
+9 # Artemis 2012-06-14 13:45
It is not only that women don't compete on the level established by men since centuries, it is often that they don't wish to. Then add the factor that men don't pay much attention to women over 40, then add the factor that women have only recently learned to speak up and then often get cut down for doing so, and then add the factor that women are still not supportive enough of one another in a way that is conducive to becoming leaders. I never would have believed it, but today there are women who are prominent in society who put other women second to men. Hopefully there is a generation growing up to think differently, who'll take the wisdom of feminism and laugh off those who never understood it, including women who say, "I'm not a feminist",....b ut I imagine they are the ones who do well in the world.
 
 
+1 # RobertMStahl 2012-06-14 14:08
What is at issue is the time in evolution for the patriarchal element to take us into a Job like scenario, or the Tower of Babel. It would be good for Christians to understand something of Thomas at this juncture, likely a bifurcation in time. There is learning and, too, there is learning to learn. There is a clear psychological impasse for the species and a real potential for a Blade Runner type planet. There will be survivors.

The issue with the patriarchy in this time described by (and, a great philosophical debate at the moment, like GUTCP at BlackLightPower .com) asymmetrical crimes, white collar in other words, is that they stem out of an application issue with management's relationship to symmetry as Gregory Bateson goes into in Steps to an Ecology of Mind. What is SWAT gets its instructions from the cells it was supposed to go after. Google Indira Singh Guns and Butter from 2005.
 
 
+7 # caffreyc 2012-06-14 14:17
Re Wikipedia: When I first found it I was very interested in the possibility of contributing. But when I tried to find out how to do this, the process was so complicated that I couldn't figure it out - and I've had many years of computer experience. It's been a while and maybe I'll try again - maybe the instructions have improved.

Re op eds: I have lots of thoughts, but I'm not a writer and they aren't necessarily well organized. I've had letters accepted, but never longer things.

I hope more women will participate. I'll certainly think about making the attempt.
 
 
+9 # xflowers 2012-06-14 14:18
I imagine that most of the women who visit this site have lots of opinions and aren't afraid to express them, but yes, I've known women with few opinions and few interests. I've known men like that too. What we need right now is not just rehashed opinion but some original thinking, something more than the typical left/right blather. We need it very badly. I'm in Italy right now; and let me tell you, our current economic system has failed just about everyone, and I'm not afraid to say it. The bankers and bondsmen who have caused this economic mess are getting ready to make things worse by doubling European debt with higher interest rates. Too many innocent people are suffering. This has got to stop, but people don't know how to stop it because this "system," if you want to call it that, is so arcane no one understands it. Something has got to change. So I would like to ask, urge, beg people with any imagination to start re-imagining now. That's the task ahead of us. Women and men, we've all got to get creative if we don't want to give ourselves and our cultures over to a mindless market driven by only one thing, greed, greed that will drive us all over the cliff if it is not checked.
 
 
+18 # Majikman 2012-06-14 14:19
My semi-rural town has one newspaper, conservative, with the op-ed editor being particularly aggressive toward liberals. I've contributed several pieces (we're required to use our real names) and I can't tell you the number of people who've said to me, "Loved what you wrote, but I can't say that in this town." One elderly woman called me in tears thanking me for saying what needed to be said. I also can't tell you the number of times I've had to do battle with this editor to publish what I write. He uses such excuses as "we lost it, you were 3 words over the limit, etc. you've exceeded the number of comments per month".
Not until I went to the publisher, calmly and politely, did that editor begin to back off slightly.
If I have to fight that much with my local rag, I can only imagine the problems women have to face with the real sharks.
 
 
-5 # thymesup 2012-06-14 14:20
and women and men have a hard time getting opinions/facts of 911 truth science as that espoused by architects and engineers for 911truth.org into the main news media at all. impossible time is more like it. npr will not air this topic ever, apparently, at least not in a manner fair, honest, respectful. they have no integrity. the gatekeepers like amy goodman and most of 'alternative media' like steve colbert, huffingtonpost are all cowards. have they been threatened,with unemployment or worse, one wonders. nobody much thinks for him OR herself, least of all the editors of the beholden cia infected media. i follow daily 911blogger.com, russiatoday, and esp sibel edmonds' boilingfrogspos t.com for the real news. get real coverage instead of fluff.
 
 
+2 # soularddave 2012-06-14 20:58
You've noticed that the new information is suppressed! Yes, it's too hot to handle. However, the revelations could turn all of politics on its head. This is too scary to contemplate - so we'll ignore it as forcefully as we can.
 
 
+4 # barbaratodish 2012-06-14 14:37
Instead of HAVING opinions, opinions HAVE us! Of course that is MY opinion! lol

http://www.amazon.com/Self-Validity-Contract-Replace-Social/dp/1477409327#reader_1477409327
 
 
+1 # dawn99 2012-06-15 21:48
Quoting barbaratodish:
Instead of HAVING opinions, opinions HAVE us! Of course that is MY opinion! lol

http://www.amazon.com/Self-Validity-Contract-Replace-Social/dp/1477409327#reader_1477409327

WOW! This is GREAT!
 
 
-14 # TedN 2012-06-14 15:20
Printed news media is dead. NY Times survives, but for how long? Why argue for a voice in that waste land? As strapped as these dinosaurs are, I do not believe an editor with declining circulation numbers would turn down an intelligently written piece simply because the author is female. American women are outspoken and highly opinionated, educated and self assured. Successful in business, science and art. I do not believe the most original and intelligent voices among them will be ignored. Blaming evil, white, selfish men is so tired. It is too convenient to blame sexism for the fact that male genius is the originator and apex in every human endeavour- from art to science through all history. Whine and complain- oh, we could have done it, but we never had a chance, the game was rigged- physically abusive, controlling men dominate in petty selfish ways. This is so low. "Boot straps"- pull yourself up, and if you shine bright enough, you cannot be ignored. Don't whine- prove me wrong! Please!
 
 
+6 # readerz 2012-06-14 17:25
Sandbox diplomacy, humor, and most of all, culture.
Ballet brought down the Soviet Union; not the men in powerful world positions, but the women artists. There isn't any sexism in the world, oh no, not your world, which is why your post is the only one here that has any hint of whining.
 
 
+16 # Vardoz 2012-06-14 15:35
I am a woman and I speak out all the time and I have raised my daughter to do the same! We need to teach our daughters!
I vote, We are Progressive independents, I write and call my reps all the time and Obama too. I marched and protested and women need to take the bull by the horns and act.
 
 
+1 # dawn99 2012-06-15 21:47
Quoting Vardoz:
I am a woman and I speak out all the time and I have raised my daughter to do the same! We need to teach our daughters!
I vote, We are Progressive independents, I write and call my reps all the time and Obama too. I marched and protested and women need to take the bull by the horns and act.



Thankyou, Vardoz I have no brothers and my dad died. I grew up in an environment where ALL women's ideas mattered ALL the time. I find men's ideas so pedantic that I tend to ignore them and talk only to women. I find that male comedians have more to offer than ur average chest-hair-wear er
 
 
+30 # JSRaleigh 2012-06-14 15:47
I really miss Molly Ivins.
 
 
+9 # vgirl1 2012-06-14 16:31
I think one of the biggest contrbutors is the fact that although women provide their input, they are often ignored or their ideas put aside. Like Republicans being against anything Democrats support even when it was originally a Republican idea, editors are against any ideas submitted by women, until those same ideas are put forth by a man.
 
 
0 # Firefox11 2012-06-18 13:40
Quoting vgirl1:
I think one of the biggest contrbutors is the fact that although women provide their input, they are often ignored or their ideas put aside. Like Republicans being against anything Democrats support even when it was originally a Republican idea, editors are against any ideas submitted by women, until those same ideas are put forth by a man.


Yes, I agree, as well as in conversations between men and women, often the woman's idea is initially rejected until a man says the same thing, and then, as if by magic, the idea gains traction, and is often repeated back to the woman who originated it, with credit being given to the man. This has happened to me MANY times. Glad to see it in print so I can appreciated that this phenomnon is happening to many women, not just me, so actually this is a social problem: inequality.
 
 
+2 # margpark 2012-06-14 18:05
My husband died about 20 years ago but when we were at a conference I felt that I shouldn't controdict him in public.

My favorite comment EVER was when we were seeing a marriage counselor because I myself had been naughty, the counselor said, "You say your wife has been having an affair with her boss for 5 years and wants to leave you to marry him, but you don't want to let her go? WHY?"

I will never so long as my brain keeps going forget that comment.

I really don't feel that giving an opinion contrary to the opinion my husband just gave is a bad thing.

And I enjoyed arguments with said boss very much. Argued with husband in private of course.
 
 
+3 # electawoman 2012-06-14 18:10
HILLARY 2016!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
 
-5 # wesmcl 2012-06-14 19:45
I'm no math wiz, but it seems Maura Kelly is making a pretty strong statement here. If women's political power is only 1/5 of what it "should be" and women currently write 20% of op-ed articles, then it follows that Maura Kelly thinks women "should" account for 100% of op-ed articles. That's how it "should be"? I'm all for giving women a bigger voice, but I don't think that the solution is to completely exclude men from publishing opinions in newspapers. Maybe she's not saying this. If not, she's not very careful with words or numbers...not exactly good qualities in an opinion writer.
 
 
+5 # JanetW 2012-06-14 20:50
five giant corporations own our major mainstream media. why would i want to read their "news" when i can go online and find much better, more relevant information from alternative media? Democracy Now is far better than any op-ed. Women have plenty of opinions, and they are expressed on blogs and on facebook and in discussions with real people, face to face.
 
 
-1 # Rick Levy 2012-06-14 21:39
"What's surprising, however, is that even when there are no gatekeepers to exclude them, no old boys' network to shut them out, women still aren't piping up enough..."

So whose fault is that?

Moreover, I think that the entire premise of Kelly's commentary is faulty. Take CNN for example. Almost every one of the commentators and analysts are women, such as Kristie Lu Stout, Nina Dos Santos, Fionnuala Sweeney,and Christiane Amanapour. In fact, at least during the the time slot in which I'm watching this network, male commentators and reporters are a distinct minority.
 
 
-2 # Brooklyn Basics 2012-06-14 23:04
This is indeed true. It starts within the family, and is perpetuated throughout the early school years.
For example, when the first banks failed, I compared them to canaries in the coal mine, and said that this was the beginning of a serious recession. "Nonsense," my husband declared, and I didn't pursue the matter. My opinion does not matter to this man and it is easier to shut up than find a new father for my children..
 
 
+2 # Firefox11 2012-06-18 13:34
[quote name="Brooklyn Basics"]This is indeed true. It starts within the family, and is perpetuated throughout the early school years.
For example, when the first banks failed, I compared them to canaries in the coal mine, and said that this was the beginning of a serious recession. "Nonsense," my husband declared, and I didn't pursue the matter. quote]

You and I are married to the same man perhaps. I could give a list of examples as well; my favorite is when I told him that the stock market was just a big casino (said about ten years ago when he first started playing cards). Men still think that they are in charge, OR that they are supposed to be in charge, i.e. know everything.
 
 
+11 # rosaleee 2012-06-15 05:27
Now wait a minute.

The conclusions drawn from this study are faulty.

They looked at PUBLISHED op eds, not the op eds that were submitted to the editors.

You don't think there could be BIAS in the SELECTION of op eds CHOSEN to be published????

REALLY NOW.

All the speculation in the comments here, as well as the speculation in the article, is grounded in the false premiss that the sample accurately reflects the op eds WRITTEN by women, as opposed to the op eds SELECTED by the editors. Of course there is BIAS in that selection!
 
 
+7 # PatriotPaul 2012-06-15 13:39
I can't tell you how many times when I collected signatures on various petitions I would hear women say, "Oh, I'll have check with my husband first before signing that." It made me cringe. Never did I hear a husband say anything remotely similar to that about deferring his opinion to his wife.

Paul Harris
Author, "Diary From the Dome, Reflections on Fear and Privilege During Katrina"
 
 
+3 # Michael_K 2012-06-15 15:21
I would simply remind everyone that those who think they know everything are very annoying to those of us who do. ;-)
 
 
0 # swaneagle 2012-06-15 18:55
I wrote a response to Chris Hedges piece, "Black Bloc is the Cancer of Occupy" that i posted on RSN. What a joke. No one could find it if they even might be interested. The only people who get posted on the front page are men and famous women like Naomi Wolf, Amy Goodman, etc. Sorry, i have tried repeatedly to be heard. Because i have a "hippie" name and have not survived an assassination attempt or have some other already existing claim to fame, i WILL NOT be allowed to have voice. It is still a good old boys reality no matter how this writer likes to claim we into "pink" issues or just don't try. After trying over and over, i simply give up cause i am damned used to being silenced. Nothing new. Try finding " Black Bloc in Not Cancer, Miscommunicatio n Is". Dare you.

fronbtlinemom@yahoo.com
 
 
0 # dawn99 2012-06-15 21:43
It is SAD that many of these comments are about who-is-the-alph a!

We are vertebrates on a ball in space.

Either we under stand the problem and/or the goal and seek to communicate effectively
or
we are lost in a version of thumb-sucking
JUST to make some fictional/cultu ral/primitive ideas continue to fly in the face of progress.
 
 
+1 # Vera Gottlieb 2012-06-16 05:44
Just because men, too often, outnumber women when it comes to openly expressing opinions, doesn't mean we women don't have them. I would like to believe that we tend to be the 'quiet voice behind the scene' and get things done this way. Opinion or no, when the chips are down it'll always be women 'to the rescue'.
 
 
+2 # Firefox11 2012-06-18 13:31
This article is very interesting; I have often written Op-Ed pieces and submitted them to the local papers in the area that I live only to see very few published, probably five or so in thirty plus years. Yet, I noticed in Sunday's paper this week, published letters from men who are frequently featured in these very same Op-Ed pages.
 

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