More women, please!

Tue, September 19, 2006


I saw this cartoon today and it really hit home.

Women’s eNews, at, and the artist Ann Telnaes have graciously allowed me to reprint it here to share with you.

Unfortunately, I think it speaks volumes to women writers — many editors, especially men, still believe that if they have the voice of one (or maybe two) women in their newspapers, no others need apply — they’ve got their woman quota covered, thanks.

Funny how they don’t seem to think the same rule applies to the men.

Do editors really believe that one woman’s point of view can represent all of us? And, if so, why doesn’t that hold true for the men writers of the world? And why aren’t we complaining more about it? Or doing something about it?

For example, there seems to be plenty of room over at the Washington Post for E.J. Dionne, Richard Cohen, Eugene Robinson, and a whole stable of very talented men op-ed writers. Don’t get me wrong. They’re all great and a pleasure to read.

But when it comes to women, they’ve got Ruth Marcus. Anne Applebaum just left, though she may post occasionally. That was pretty much it for the “stable” of women op-ed contributors to the print edition.

How do we fix that problem? Well, I guess we could all write more op-eds. But as guest contributors, that’s a tough nut to crack. The New York Times gets hundreds of unsolicited opinion pieces each week for just a handful of slots.

A study done a couple of years ago showed that at the Post, only a little more than 10 percent of opinion pieces were authored by women. At the Times, the number was about 17 percent. Are the editors not paying attention to women writers? Or are we just not writing that much for the op-ed pages? Or, are we too hesitant to express our opinions in that op-ed form?

I guess it’s a combination, but maybe it’s time we all start writing more of our opinions for what has been dubbed the MSM and not keep them contained to the blogosphere. Having surfed so many great blogs in the last few months, there are plenty of us out there with more opinions than any male editor can shake a stick at.

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3 Responses to “More women, please!”

  1. Mom101 Says:

    Great post. It’s interesting, I go back and forth on wanting to be known as “a woman writer.”

    In my advertising job, I’d punch anyone who called me such. But here, I do believe it shapes what I write about and how I write it. I don’t think you can be in any minority of any sort, without it always being on your mind somehow. But then, if only it weren’t so marginalizing…

  2. MojoMom Says:

    Hi Punditmom and Mom101

    It is a double-edged sword to be known as a woman writer, parenting writer, or heaven forbid “Mommy Blogger.” I am proud of my “Mojo Mom” blog but I do worry about pigeonholing myself. My solution is to feel free to write about anything I want on my blog, to continue to develop as a writer, and to submit op-eds.

    Motherhood is the subject that helped me launch my passion for writing, and I think about it so much that there is always something to write about. At the same time, as my daughter grows up, I feel ready to take that energy and launch myself in new directions that are not limited to motherhood.

    Thanks for the post, PunditMom! I think it’s pretty cool that you and I were both blogging on the topic of women writers at the same time.

  3. Toby O Says:

    Hi, I came over here from Jane Smiley’s post on the Huffington, I’m reading Greenlanders, which she wrote.

    I think the reason the cartoon hit home is that from a man’s perspective, you get a lot of the same wheeze from a woman, however she couches it, and whoever she is.
    Whoa! Good think you’re wearing red today, color coordination (face to pumps) is so important.

    Now maybe that’s not true, that all women whine the in the same key, or that the information is couched in similar color-coordinated emotional blankets, I’m really going with a hunch, but now that I’ve read your post I’m curious to find out more.

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