Posts Tagged: The OpEd Project Results 2
When I sat on my first panel of professionals before an audience, I received some useful advice. “The audience thinks you’re an expert,” a dear friend told me. “So, just accept that mantle and be one.” The audience turned out to be tiny, but I ran with the advice and pontificated to the sleepy assemblage about journalism and civic engagement, my favorite subjects. Indeed, they took me for the expert I was billed as (even presenting a commemorative mug from the oh-so-glamorous local chapter of the American Society for Public Administration).
An expert is exactly what many women deny they are, according to the OpEd Project, a nonprofit in New York City dedicated to increasing the number of opinion pieces written by women on the nation’s newspapers’ op-ed pages (the name comes from “opposite the editorial” page; it’s a space that includes opinions “opposite” the newspaper’s official ones as expressed in editorials). The group’s latest survey of six top news sources showed only about one in five op-eds were by women. Only one in five! If women identified and embraced their expertise — whether gained through professional experience, graduate school, time spent doing hobbies or raising children or other personal experience and observation — perhaps they would write and submit more op-eds to newspapers. But that’s just one reason for the relative silence; women also may be “keeping their ink dry” because op-ed pages matter, frankly, to just a sliver of the population, or seem boring, or women are gravitating to the more accessible social and online media (like this blog).
You’d think that at the age of 43, I’d know what I’m good at. But there I was recently participating in a workshop run by Katie Orenstein of The OpEd Project, completely freaked out at the notion of having to identify what I am an expert in. My mind was a blank. I knew I could handle the first part of the assignment Orenstein was giving us, but the second and third parts were the killers. She gave us our instructions and a few minutes to gather our thoughts.