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Gender Bias at the Post?

March 30, 2009

Is it just me, or is there a gender bias at the Washington Post?  As a subscriber, and woman, I was stunned that Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s news that she has been fighting cancer was revealed in the Style section (section C); whereas Arlen Specter’s cancer announcement graced the “A” section.

Now I realize that Arlen Specter is the local elder, but how is his cancer any more newsworthy than Schultz’s?  Moreover, Congresswoman Schultz continued to work through her cancer treatments, much to the later surprise of her staff.  The article goes on to discuss her recent proposal for the EARLY Act, a $9 million initiative to “teach both young women and medical professionals alike about risk factors, warning signs of breast cancer and predictive tools such as genetic testing that can help women make informed decisions about their health.”

This was more than just a fluff piece on a Congresswoman’s battle with cancer, it was an article on upcoming legislation.  Like every other article about legislation in the Post, it should have been printed in section A where it belongs.

(I have to give a big hat tip to a colleague of mine for pointing this out to me for a great opening post.)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jodi permalink
    March 31, 2009 9:26 AM

    Excellent opening post!

  2. Kathleen Smith permalink
    March 31, 2009 8:32 PM

    If it isn’t gender bias, it’s certainly an example of entrenched 20th century think.

  3. Randy Horowitz permalink
    April 1, 2009 7:11 AM

    Well maybe…
    How about a couple of other ideas.
    1. Arlen Specter has a “national” presence. I suspect that more people would have recognized his name before he was taken ill. There are far fewer Senators than Representatives. And the Senate is considered the “upper” house.
    2. Just speaking for myself in this regard. I am aware of who my 2 U.S. Senators are but actually am not aware of who my rep to the U.S. house is at the moment. Fault me if you like, but perhaps this also
    has something to do with members of the house getting as a rule less
    attention in the media.
    3. Perhaps the Congresswoman herself indicated to the press that she did not want to play up her illness whereas Mr Specter did not mind.

    There is NOT always a secret cabal for every perceived slight.

  4. Kathleen Smith permalink
    April 2, 2009 4:14 PM

    How true. Gender bias is as pervasive as the air we breathe. If we had only secret cabals to deal with, gender equity would be the rule, not the exception. The political/media hierarchy – Senators are a higher life form than Representatives – is a point well taken.

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