Monday, November 06, 2006

Truly Insightful Opining Found in the YDN

Last week sophomore columnist Alexandra Schwartz wrote a truly insightful editorial for the Yale Daily News titled "Dearth of woman columnists is puzzling."

In the editorial Schwartz addresses the gender disparity found in the YDN's editorial page by considering what sorts of campus activities women tend to gravitate towards, in order to understand why so few women seem to be interested in opining in the Yale Daily News. Schwartz suggests that women often overload themselves with campus involvements and also are more likely to go abroad, both of which are valid points but it is slightly unclear whether Schwartz sees these facts as causal or simply corrollary to the problem she is getting at. I, of course, would have loved to have seen her title the article "Dearth of woman columnists is abhorrent" and criticize the YDN for not working their asses off to fix the problem, but hey, thats my opinion, not hers. She does sum things up very well in her last paragraph when she writes:

I don't wish that there were more female columnists to give the page some kind of vague "feminine perspective" that it lacks. Rather, I wish more Yale women felt compelled to write regular columns, if only to prove that girls can be just as outgoing and aggressive as boys in publicizing what they have to say and in standing by it. This page would benefit enormously if more women felt compelled to pursue a column of their own.

That said, its imperative that we take into consideration the greater social and structural problems that cause women not to write for the YDN, and not put all the onus on them.

Broad Recognition and the women involved (Maggie, Basha and I) obviously agree with Schwartz in that it is important for women to voice their opinions in a public way. Our hope is to enable women to do so by creating this blog and inviting guest bloggers. We would also like to develop an editorial relationship with the YDN--something Schwartz' editorial has now given us greater impetus to make a move on.

Finally, I just want to point out that the YDN isn't the only campus publication suffering from a lack of women editorializers. Yale's progressive publication, The Hippolytic, could only find one woman (me) to write for their blog (its great, you should all check it out). Fortunately, when I brought it to the attention of those running the blog (Noam Rudnick and Jared Malsin) they were both very responsive, and concerned about this dearth of women (to quote Schwartz) and we are now in the process of looking for more women to write (email me at if you are interested, please!).


Eric Sandberg-Zakian, ES'07 said...

yeah, I agree. I would have liked to see some criticism of the publication as well.

Schwartz still could have made it a call to arms rather than just a criticism by demanding that women hold the YDN responsible.

Paul Goehrke said...

The subtitle description of Broad Recognition is "Feminist Responses to Sexism at Yale." I wonder about your word choice. Would "Feminist Responses to Important Issues at Yale" or "Feminist Perspectives on Yale Issues" be a better description. Is targetting "sexism" too reactive? Is there a clear value to be had in self-defining your attention one way or the other?

Chelsea said...

It was great to see this column in the YDN. I look forward to seeing more from Schwartz.

My thoughts... The actual topics of the opinion columns themselves may help explain the gender imbalance. YDN op columns tend to focus a lot on local and national politics. This an arena where men's voices-- in every paper and Poli Sci dpt in the country-- seem to dominate the discussion. They shouldn't, and we should hear more women's voices (think Alyssa Rosenberg 06's great local politics column) in the YDN.

But in addition to trying to correct the bias, perhaps the YDN needs also to consider including regular columns on more diverse topics. And not just the standard etiquette or sex/dating columns that college papers usually have, which seem to be the only ones women write.

Chelsea said...

Also can I just say, I'm really glad to see this blog back after ths summer hiatus. I'm a recent grad but am definitely still reading!