How to Achieve Gender Equality in the Media
The lowdown: It’s probably not a surprise to anyone reading this that mainstream American media suffers from a serious diversity problem, from the folks on screen to the writers’ rooms. In light of this, we were fascinated by a story in The Atlantic of journalist and news anchor Steven I. Weiss, who interviews writers and intellectuals on his show Up Close. At the beginning of the show’s run, Weiss decided that they would buck the trend of featuring overwhelmingly male authors and achieve a 50/50 ratio of men and women as guests on the show. As it turns out, recognizing the problem and vowing to address it – even as a man – isn’t enough. Read Weiss’s account of the difficulties of gender parity to get an honest look at the barriers to entry that woman face in media.
What happened in the end? Spoiler alert: with far more effort than anticipated, Up Close made it to equal representation of gender (though Weiss allows that they still have light years to go in terms of other kinds of diversity). He says, “It seems we’ve finally cracked the code on getting to proportional representation on our show, even if we haven’t yet figured out an easy way to do so. Still, it’s an effort I’m convinced it is important to make.” Our response: Keep at it, buddy. And tell your boys to do the same.