My father-in law is one of the nicest men I know. He is patient, intelligent and extremely kind. I first met him at a restaurant, the night before his son Peter— my boyfriend at the time—got his master’s degree. Peter told him I worked in public radio.
“I produce a radio program called 51%,” I said. “It’s a show about women.” I went on to talk about the topics we cover, including national and global politics, culture, history, and work and family issues. I told him about the commentaries we air—some poignant, others humorous—by diverse and fascinating women. I mentioned the musicians and poets we feature, talented women who don’t get a great deal of exposure in commercial media. I was nervous and trying to impress so I talked too much and probably too fast. When I slowed down, my future father-inlaw asked, “Is there a 49%?”
There it was again, the question that had plagued me since I’d taken the job three years earlier. Why is there a show about women? If there is a show about women, should there be a show about men?
I recall saying that 49% might be an interesting idea for a program before a waiter
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Not everyone who asks about my work is as kind as my father-in-law. Gender is a
Recently, I interviewed reporter Rebecca Traister, one of the founders of Salon.com’s new blog about women, Broadsheet. Starting Broadsheet also raised questions for Traister. “It’s a struggle,” she admitted as she recalled one of the first items posted on the blog, about 50,000 women who went on strike for equal pay in Reykjavik, Iceland. “We don’t have anyone in Reykjavik, at Salon, who is going to write a feature about this,” she said. “Yet here we are, directing people to this terrific story of women who went on strike for an entire day. And it’s not something we would have covered before, but all of our readers got shown a way to find out about that story.”
Was it something they needed to know? That depends, I guess. Did it open a new
So should there be special media outlets for women? These days if I am asked, I