Everyday opinions and perspectives.
A NEW Washington Post blog, She the People, is providing women with a forum for writing on politics, news and culture.
It is aimed at encouraging and enabling women to become more politically engaged.
But why do women need a separate blog to write about politics?
Jessica Valenti of Feministing. com objects to the tag- line, the world as women see it, which she says not only reeks of gender essentialism but promotes the idea that women’s opinions and perspectives aren’t normative, but somehow other than real, everyday opinions.
One critic of The Washington Post suggested being honest and reinstating the quaint women’s section of last- century newspapers, where the girls could share recipes, cut out dress patterns and discuss debutantes, just like their greatgrandmothers.
There’s tongue in cheek there, but there are a lot of blogs catering to those interests too and leaving the news out altogether. Here in Australia, Fairfax Digital has launched a new site for women, called Dailylife, which received an immediate backlash on Twitter, where it was named Dailywife.
As Jeremy Sear writes in Crikey, ‘‘ the problem isn’t so much having a gossip site, or suspecting that women will be the majority of its readers’’.
The problem, Sears writes, is ‘‘ shoving serious stories that affect women into the gossip area, as if they’re not real news’’.
In its defence, with editor Sarah Oakes ( former editor of print title Sunday Life) at the helm, Dailylife does have some intelligent writers in its stables.
Gender and sociology writers Rachel Hills, writer and critic Clem Bastow, psychologist Tanveer Ahmed, comedian Corinne Grant and The Sydney Morning Herald’s Amy Corderoy and Stephanie Wood have all contributed articles.
If the tide of equality is turning in journalism, it’s turning slowly. The fact is that there is a lack of women writing news articles and making news in the world of the media.
Only 24 per cent of news subjects the people interviewed, or whom the news is about, were found to be female in 7000 news stories and 14,000 news sources in 42 countries ( Global Media Monitoring Project, 2010).
Only 16 per cent of all stories focused specifically on women ( Global Media Monitoring Project, 2010).
Even if news is dominated by male writers and male subjects, that’s no reason to opt out altogether, particularly for women writers who can help change this.
If news sites want to engage more women readers, they need more women writers on the main page, in the opinion section, in the news itself, and writing about more than women’s issues, cosmetics advertorials and interviewees who are more than ‘‘ page- three girls’’. She the People: The Washington Post’s new politics blog for female readers ( the politics section for men and others remains on the main site). washingtonpost. com/ blogs/ she- the- people Ms. Magazine: The web presence of feminist frontrunner Ms. Magazine, the website boasts the most extensive coverage of US and international women’s issues. msmagazine. com
▼Womens enews: A non- profit news service covering issues of concern to women and their allies and provides a woman’s perspective on changing public policy. womensenews. org The Glass Hammer: An awardwinning blog and online community created for women executives in finance, law, technology and big business. theglasshammer. com