Over the past couple years, much ink has been spilled on how women need to speak up and “lean in.” Much of the conversation has focused on media representation — a still volatile battleground for gender parity. According to the Op-Ed Project, in 2011, women authored only 19 percent of op-eds in the Wall Street Journal, 22 percent in the New York Times and 24 percent in the Los Angeles Times. Another way to look at the status quo: a woman over 65 is less likely to be cited as an expert in the media as a boy in the 13 to 18 age group. A report by the Women’s Media Center found that on the front page of The New York Times, men were quoted three times more often than women.
In collaboration with Media Matters for America, we conducted an analysis of foreign policy guests on major news programs. The results read like a time capsule from the 1950s: In 2014, women made up just 22 percent of guests. Of trained experts networks call upon, they are even less than that. If you see a woman on cable news talking about foreign affairs or national security, she’s likely a reporter or news personality, not a trained expert or a diplomat.
We can do better than this.
There’s been talk on instituting quotas. Implementing paradigm shifts. Changing the ratio. All have been thrown around in conversation, punctuated with books and editorials by the likes of Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter, and searing debates. Twitter feeds and list-servs buzz with overly baked critiques and undercooked ideas on how to push the conversation forward. The “why” in all of this is quite clear and inarguable, but the “how” remains elusive.
This is where Foreign Policy Interrupted comes in.
FPI fills the void from the ground up through a cohesive fellowship program, including media training and meaningful mentoring at partnering media institutions. We’re helping women break both internal and external barriers.
For more on our plans for world domination:
– Read our interview with the Council on Foreign Relations
– Read Vox’s overview of the Interrupt movement
– Read our op-ed in the New York Times
– Watch us in conversation with our founding board member Anne-Marie Slaughter, Media Matters for America and Foreign Policy magazine: