Five Day Plain Dealer Count: 32 Bylines, 32 Men (and 2 Female Co-Authors) on Opinion Pages

The Plain Dealer oped count for Monday, Tuesday & today: 6 guys, 0 gals. Combined with yesterday’s count, this brings the week’s total to 16 opinions, 16 bylines, all men, one of whom shared with a woman. (I’d link to cleveland.com but it actually doesn’t give you the same content as the PD e-edition. I believe only subscribers to the PD can access the e-edition.)

Since Sunday, when I started to count, we’ve seen 32 opinion articles, 32 men’s bylines, two of whom shared it with a woman. Not a single byline with a woman going solo.

And in this world where the paper home delivers just four days a week, and I know I know several recipients who receive it only on Sunday, consider the increase in the imbalance they view when not spreading it out over seven days (though in this five-day spread case, it wouldn’t matter – yet).

What is it that keeps anyone from thinking that we can’t do better or that we don’t need to do better? I’ve heard pretty much every excuse there is – and there are a lot given.

But there’s only one missing ingredient: being intentional. To understand what that means and looks like, read, “Let’s Change the Ratio Once and For All,” by Andrew Rasiej, Founder of Personal Democracy Forum and Co-Founder with Micah Sifry of Personal Democracy Media, and “A Challenge to Digital Influencers: Join The #One4One Game,” by Deanna Zandt. Their concerns begin with the tech world but apply to all sectors. And, they follow their own advice.

Another look at being intentional, from Social Media Week, “Announcing Gender 50/50: Striving for Balance Among Social Media Week’s Global Community of Men and Women”

And this great set of observations related to gender parity on conference panels from The Atlantic, “The Panel Pledge: A Follow-Up”:

But if you, like I do, reject the idea that there are no women qualified enough for the vast, vast majority of panels, then you have to ask why so many panels don’t have any women on them. My belief is that for whatever reason men who are organizing panels are inclined to think of the names of … wait for it … other men. As Alice Bell tweeted, “Shortlisting speakers for an event? You’ll probably think of men first. Make yourself think of women, then ask her first. It’s not hard.” That is the purpose of the pledge: to force the thought, or, as Jamelle Bouie put it, to “begin to see homogeneity as unusual.” Once you do, you are likely to come up with plenty of women who would add a lot. (And, if you have any trouble, Ed Yong sent me this pre-made list of “1,000 Women Speakers Worth Listening To,” which has some great ideas for conferences related to science, secularism, human rights, and a bunch of other topics.)

Sound familiar? In early 2011, the Plain Dealer wrote about how Governor Kasich’s cabinet appointments reflected that type of homogeneity resulting from that type of homogeneous brainstorming. And of course we thought, “Really? He cannot find a single female or person of color?” Here’s what the governor had to say:

“I don’t look at things from the standpoint of any of these sort of metrics that people tend to focus on, race or age, or any of those things,” Kasich told The Plain Dealer. “It’s not the way I look at those things. I want the best possible team I can get, and hopefully we will be in a position that we are fully diverse as we go forward.”

“But I can’t say I need to find somebody to fit this metric, not when I am trying to get a state that is in deep trouble out of trouble,” he said.

If you didn’t cringe, you should have. Really – in the state of Ohio, even within the entire right-side of the aisle, there isn’t a single woman or person of color, at that stage in their search, who could be part of the “best team” able to help “get a state that is in deep trouble out of trouble”? Just a tad insulting to women and people of color, just a tad.

I’m privately going to continue to keep a tally, but I’m not sure how often I’ll post it. This isn’t really about that – it’s just a very easy way to see the raw numbers and raise awareness of the issue.

The more important piece is to be taking action – which I am, both in the raising awareness, getting conversations going, agreeing on some solutions and implementing those solutions. They do exist and we can undertake them, across the board in Northeast Ohio. In fact, I’ve got a phone call in nine minutes to make something happen on this front, lucky readers.

Where can you inject some intentionality today?