The New York Times fires Pulitzer Prize winning Editor after only 3 years. And by the way, she’s a woman
This week New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. abruptly fired Jill Abramson, its first ever female editor hired in 2011. Both Sulzberger and Abramson have been mum on the reason(s) but speculation is rife. From Ken Auletta of The New Yorker:
As with any such upheaval, there’s a history behind it. Several weeks ago, I’m told, Abramson discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as both executive editor and, before that, as managing editor were considerably less than the pay and pension benefits of Bill Keller, the male editor whom she replaced in both jobs. “She confronted the top brass,” one close associate said, and this may have fed into the management’s narrative that she was “pushy,” a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect.
So a woman complaining about being paid less than a man is described as pushy, mercurial. stubborn and condescending. Sound familiar ladies? Most working women in America are familiar with this kind of situation and terminology. The fact that those terms seem more appropriate in workplace dialogue from Mad Men than from the working environment of “America’s newspaper” in 2014 will not be lost on the general public.
From The New York Times’ public editor Margaret Sullivan:
…And she wore her feminism on her sleeve in just the right way – not with overplaying stories about women’s issues, but with the determined promotion of qualified women into top roles. Her masthead was 50 percent women in recent months, a major change.
This gem from Slate’s Amanda Hess says it all:
According to a half-dozen women who worked with her, though, Abramson’s brief stint as the female leader of a male-dominated institution proved to be a transformative experience. By the time she left, media critics would report that staffers deemed her “polarizing,” “bitchy,” and “not approachable.” But to many women at the New York Times, Jill Abramson was everything.
As they say in the biz: “this story has legs.”
Any predictions on where this is going?
Ruffin isn’t a stranger to the comedy world. Last month, she was a part of SNL’s “secret” black women-only auditions, and she’s an iO Theater alum and former Second City performer.
I wish in the year 2014 the hiring of a female African American writer on SNL was NOT a big deal…but it is. Check out this dismal fact from Jezebel:
After analyzing the writers’ rooms of nightly network talk shows like The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, David Letterman’s two shows, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Jay Leno’s two shows, Jimmy Fallon’s two shows, Conan O’Brien’s two shows before he was on TBS, Last Call with Carson Daly and even older shows like The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, it’s clear that Ruffin is an outlier in the world of traditional late night comedy writing. Expanding that list to look at non-network shows brings in programs like Conan on TBS, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report,Chelsea Lately, the cancelled Lopez Tonight and Arsenio Hall, but still, no one comes up. Shows that did have women of color on their writing staffs: Totally Biased and The Chris Rock Show, plus Real Time with Bill Maher at one point.
On a personal note, the statistic above explains why these late night format shows are completely off my radar. I would say on the scale of “nails on a chalkboard irritable” the Leno, Letterman, Ferguson, Kimmel, Conan format is something I NEVER watch. I will, however, consume snippets of Colbert, Daily Show and Chelsea especially if the guests are interesting.
So congratulations Amber Ruffin on breaking this very thick glass ceiling. We at the Tomboy Chronicles are anxious to watch your star rise!
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
The always spectacular Nicolle Hollander has this post up at her blog – BadGirlChats.com – and it’s required reading for all females and parents of females. Hollander’s radar picked up a Guardian article written by Feministing.com co-founder Jessica Valenti. The article takes on a very tired trope:
Despite an ongoing, glaring lack of equality for women in culture and in policy, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman’s new book, The Confidence Code, argues that what’s truly holding women back is their own self-doubt. In fact, Kay and Shipman dismiss the importance of institutional barriers upfront, writing in the introduction that, while there’s truth behind concerns about sexism, the “more profound” issue is women’s “lack of self-belief”. Think Lean In meets The Secret.
Valenti goes on to challenge this myth. Check out her transition in the next paragraph…
Yet, in just the past year, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that a woman can be fired if her boss finds her attractive, a New York court decided that unpaid interns can’t sue for sexual harassment, and the Paycheck Fairness Act was defeated by Republicans who claimed women actually prefer lower-paying jobs.
So you’ll have to excuse my guffaw when I hear what American women really need is more “confidence.” It seems to me our insecurity is well-earned!
Actual ad from UPS served on top page of NCAA Women’s Final Four website:
Also, when you come to the website, you actually have to click on the Interactive Bracket link before you can find out WHO the teams are that are playing in the tournament. Contrast that to the men’s site.
Hidden in the shadow of the highly touted NCAA Men’s Final Four tournament is the Women’s tournament being played starting tonight in Nashville. The big story of the 2014 tournament is that two of the teams are undefeated!
Let’s set the scene for tonight’s two games:
Game 1: 6:30pm on ESPN
Back in the national semifinals for the first time since winning the championship in 2006, Maryland will try to spoil an unprecedented title game when the Terrapins face undefeated Notre Dame on Sunday night. Stanford plays unbeaten UConn in the other semifinal.
“Maryland and Stanford are the extras at the Miss USA pageant,” Frese quipped. “Our job is to be able to crash the party.”
While fourth-seeded Maryland (28-6) surprised many by reaching the Final Four, Notre Dame has been on a roll all season. The Irish are two wins away from the first undefeated season in school history and a second national championship. Coach Muffet McGraw said her team tries to focus on the next game and not making history, which has helped them remain perfect this season.
Game 2: at 9:00 PM on ESPN
All the talk of Stanford feeling like a junior varsity team crashing the Final Four or being an extra at the beauty pageant is just rhetoric to UConn coach Geno Auriemma. Motivational chatter he says no team here needs since each has won a championship.
…Nope, he and his Connecticut Huskies just win titles — and they’re chasing perfection again. They are two wins from making history: The first program in the women’s game with nine national titles.
This logo from the NCAA Women’s Final Four website looks like it was designed decades ago (or in a hurry). I especially love the female symbol on the left. The image brings to mind women’s lib imagery of the 1980s.
I suggest you watch the game with an aspiring male or female athlete so they can experience firsthand the awesomeness of women’s basketball!
For anyone paying attention to the 2008 presidential campaign (and here too) the news of media double standards for men and women in the public sphere comes as no surprise. What is important is that Hillary Clinton and many others are keeping it alive.
Hillary Clinton discussed her work at the State Department, called for young women not to take criticisms personally and rapped the media for treating powerful women with a double standard at the kickoff of “Women in the World” in New York City Thursday night.
(The only thing disappointing about the interview with Clinton and Christine LeGarde is that Tom Friedman was the interviewer. The event is called “Women in the World.” Wasn’t there a qualified woman who could have engaged this pair? Just saying.)
More on the glass ceiling aspect from Bloomberg.
LOTS more about Women in the World here
Could women’s under representation in the media be one of the reasons? Of course! From the Women’s Media Center:
We examined 20 of the most widely circulated, read, viewed and listened to U.S. based TV networks, newspapers, news wires and online news sites. The research findings tell a stark story about where women stand across every platform in the 24/7 news cycle.
We conducted this research in order to shine a light on how well American news media – the shaper of images, ideologies, and ideals – allow women to craft our own narrative and include our voices in a wide-ranging public discourse over the airwaves, in print and online. Our conclusion: American media have exceedingly more distance to travel on the road to gender-blind parity.
When I was a kid I really thought that by the time I was 40 this would not be an issue. I’m way past 40 now and hoping that the changes that are needed will come in my lifetime. A girl can dream can’t she?