So I have yet to weigh in on “Vermont Has Her Back,” the petition drive seeking gender equity in the state’s media corps. Until now.
I certainly agree with the substance of the letter. There are too many men and not enough women (or people of color, ftm) in the political reporting sphere and, perhaps even worse, on the editorial plane. (Editors make assignments and have final review of stories.) This isn’t a matter of overt misogyny; it’s the result of structural barriers and unconscious bias in hiring and promotion.
(Not addressed in the letter are similar and even more impactful biases in our politics. Something must be wrong (and not just with our media) when Vermont has yet to send a woman to Congress, while New Hampshire ‘s delegation has three women and one man — and not that long ago, all four were women. Plus the governor. Vermont offers a stark contrast.)
The unconscious bias is becoming apparent in coverage of legislative leadership. Now that the House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem are both women, the press is on high alert for signs of discord between the two.
A catfight, in other words.
Jill Krowinski and Becca Balint are doing their best to create a positive House/Senate relationship, but differences will inevitably surface. The two leaders will be under intense scrutiny over how they handle conflict. Opportunities for sexist blather will abound.
We’re already getting a little taste.Continue reading