It is our historical duty as women to tell stories; to bear witness and to report in ways that only we who have experienced the multi-layered existence of a woman can do.
Women are essential to fully understanding history, as family & tradition teachers, cultural witnesses and storytellers.
In early Greece, people would climb Delphi to have their questions answered by Pythia the Priestess. She had to be at least fifty years of age, so she had lived and was called upon to give advice. Her stories could be interpreted in different ways;
was she using second sight to inform her audience or a reasoned mind that understood the complexities of existence and could proffer counsel?
Whichever, the civilized world at that time depended greatly on her narratives.
In our own country, Nelly Blye as she was known, born in 1864, was a pioneering journalist, who exposed the horrid conditions of patients at Blackwell Island’s asylum and reported on her 72-day trip around the world.
Ida B. Wells, born 1862, was an African-American journalist and activist who led an anti-lynching crusade in the U.S in 1892 Her exposé enraged locals, who burned her press and drove her out of Memphis. She became an active part of the suffrage movement while still disagreeing with the white members about their lack of interest in condemning lynching.
Statistics are not useful unless they evoke action. When one considers that in the US in 2004, there were seven female top editors at the 25 biggest US dailies, compared to 3 in 2014, there should be a reaction that leads to action.
And what is this action? Journalist Gill Kent speaks “to the idea of communal demand”; that those already in the company, coalesce and demand more gender equality for positions in the top brass. The attitude for change can start from those already in the inside, no matter what their position. They need to write and petition for better jobs for women without worrying that they are causing a stink.
Interesting to note that when Charlie Rose was outed from his prime spot on PBS, the fantastic Christiane Amanpour was brought in. Did women in charge at PBS insist on a woman replacing Rose?
How do we fight the “clubhouse chemistry’ that has put so many white men in key positions in new media? By setting up seminars for those women who have some power and encouraging them to mentor, both inside and outside the company. By conferring on them both respect and honor for having achieved the position and making them aware of what is at stake if they don’t step out of their bubble to open the field to other women. Melissa Bell at Vox knows only too well how easy it can be to have her female’s staffs’ efforts overlooked…it’s time to speak out and be counted, just as #me too has stepped out.
The age of competition amongst women must be a thing of the past. As sisters, we can help ourselves only if we help each other gain more professional and personal power in our lives.
Women’s perspectives are so much more diverse than men…when men cover drug stories they are interested in body count, while women writers take the effect these crimes have on the family, the children and the future of the community. We see the bigger picture.
Besides putting pressure on the present media leaders, both women and men, we must celebrate the woman-lead stories that are out there already;
rejoice in their approach and ask for more stories from these writers. We can do that as writers as well as readers.
Created by Nonee Walsh text by Nancy Cohen-koan with images by Nancy Cohen-koan, rawpixel - "untitled image" • michael podger - "untitled image" & Wilkkimendi commons