Where are all the women...

"Life is unfair / Kill yourself or get over it."

Such is the philosophy of bizarro Brit band Black Box Recorder -- and in my most miserable moments, I couldn't agree more. But in my daily life, I fight that despairing inner pessimist and try to maintain a slightly less nihilistic attitude toward the whole "being alive" thing.

We all know life is unfair. It's what we do to correct this unfairness that actually makes an impact on the world around us.

Since September, Ruth Davis Konigsberg, a deputy editor at Glamour magazine, has quietly documented the inequity that often goes unchallenged when it comes to women in media -- namely, the fact that although the industry is teeming with smart, talented female journalists, said journalists aren't writing for America's most respected "general interest" magazines.

Konigsberg lists the scary stats at her website, WomenTK. Here's just a smattering of the pathetic male-to-female ratios of bylines for November 2005:

  • The New Yorker -- 107:28

  • The Atlantic -- 61:28

  • The New York Times magazine -- 114:42


Konigsberg obtains her data from the mags' table of contents, and her calculations don't include "letters, illustrations, photographs, puzzles, poems, or roundtable participants."

Still, these numbers are beyond shitty -- and as a female writer/editor myself, it makes me sad to see women routinely shafted when it comes to more prestigious, higher-paying assignments. (These types of swanky gen-interest assignments can net thousands of dollars for freelance journalists -- either the bread and butter or the breaking point for struggling writers. Then again, starving-artist sorts aren't usually hired by that Pinnacle of Literary Genius, the New Yorker…).

When will magazine editors decide to stop relegating female writers to the "service-piece and sex-tips" ghetto? What will it take for editors to take us seriously?

Opinions encouraged -- but please, spare me the hateful, untrue "when women write as well as men!" variety. Thank you kindly.
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