Monday, March 28, 2005

Barefoot and Pregnant...on the Op-Ed page?

More on the Kinsley-Estrich mess in Sunday's WSJ, with Associate Editorial Page Editor Melanie Kirkpatrick's article, "More Estrogen for Ms. Estrich!". The article was in response to the minor tiff between LA Times Editorial Page Editor Michael Kinsley, and writer Susan Estrich, which resulted from Kinsley's rejection of a piece written by Estrich. Estrich subsequently called for more female Op-Ed writers, a call taken up by Maureen Dowd, among others. In her Op-Ed, Kirkpatrick rebuts all the arguments about the need for greater female representative by arguing that Estrich means more females who write with "women's voices," something that Kirkpatrick finds demeaning to women because it values their opinions only because of their gender.

Kirkpatrick is right that to give columns to women just because of their gender devalues their work because it places it under the suspicion of being published not because of its own merit but because of the author's sex. But its overly optimistic to assume that an overall rise of women in the workplace will lead to an increase of women on the Op-Ed page. The solution probably involves some combination of the increase in gender equality that is occuring in our society with an eye to increasing diverse opinions, regardless of the gender, race, or bias of the author.


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