The Op-Ed Project

Thanks to the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) for scheduling a workshop at their November Conference in Denver, CO, with “The Op-Ed Project.”  Here’s a bit of what they say on their website:

The Problem
The op-ed pages of our nation’s newspapers are overwhelmingly dominated—80% or more—by men. Because the op-ed pages feed all other media, the under-representation of women here perpetuates and exaggerates the under-representation of women in larger ways. For example, men are:

  • 84% of guests on influential Sunday morning political talk shows on TV
  • 85% of Hollywood producers
  • 85% of nonfiction books on The New York Times best-selling
  • 85-90% of radio producers
  • 83% of congress

Why this matters: Our leaders and our public are not getting the best information and ideas we need to make the best decisions. Our position is not that women need our help, but just the opposite:  we think the public, and more specifically public debate, needs women. Our national conversation is currently an echo chamber that reproduces the voices and opinions of a very narrow slice of society:  85% (mostly white, privileged) men.   Even worse among academics: a May 2008 Rutgers University study found that 97% of op-eds by scholars in the Wall Street Journal are written by men. What is the cost to society when half of the nation’s best minds and best ideas –  women’s minds and women’s ideas – are left out?   If you were trying to catch the best and biggest fish, would you fish in only half the pond?
In short, public debate all but excludes half the population.

If you can’t wait till November, The Op-Ed Project is holding several workshops across the U.S. in the next few months. They are $300 but they offer good scholarships for a “pay with words” agreement. See more on their site.  Here are the sites and dates:

  • Apr 24, 2010 – NYC
  • May 1, 2010 – DC
  • May 8, 2010 – SF
  • May 15, 2010 – Los Angeles
  • Jul 17, 2010 – Chicago

And here’s a blog post about the experience:

The Op-Ed Project web page has some great help right there so if you aren’t near or can’t attend a live workshop, you can still get started.  And be sure to check out their blog, The Byline Blog.

Get writing!


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