Why do women sign less?, by Joana Bonet

It was on a plane, bound for New York, recently released as a columnist in The vanguardwhen I came across a veteran journalist who used his contemptuous sarcasm: “Wow, now in our newspaper the stylists of Marie Claire. Where will we end up!” I didn’t answer because I’ve always held stylists in high esteem, although I was instantly aware of the prejudice that darkened the rest of my resume, as well as my typecasting in frivolity.

I started signing news from pardilla, in society and culture; alternated the writing table with the faculty. And despite the hangovers and heartbreak, I never stopped writing the next day’s note, pushed by a mixture of vocation and mandate. Until I found a forgotten window in fashion, with hardly any competition to peek out.

Nobody wanted to write about fashion. It was something beautiful but insignificant, although Proust, Wilde, Mallarmé or Balzac did not see it that way, I told myself. And also, at the end of the 80s, fashion was part of the party that invoked the spirit of Rimbaud on platforms.

Scene from ‘Uncovered’

At that time, there were still few women bosses in the newsrooms; I had among my idols Patrícia Gabancho and Margarita Rivière, who had already explored the sociocultural dimension of aesthetics. From Paris, the chronicles of Laurence Benaïm in the world they entered and left the catwalk to connect it with an artistic magma that ordered chaos. They were mirrors so that fashion became my alibi, a safe-conduct to continue signing.

Throughout these years I have lost track of many valuable colleagues in the media. Some were unfairly pushed aside, others resigned. Some were also paralyzed by impostor syndrome. I see it reflected in the report “Mujeres sin nombre”, carried out by LLYC and coordinated by Luisa García, on the presence and treatment of women in the media.

The consulting firm’s Deep Digital Business team has analyzed fourteen million news items published in the last year with an explicit mention of gender –from Spain to the US–. The result? Women sign 50% less than men.

In the news, they also occupy them to a lesser extent, but the study yields a paradoxical fact: in one out of every fifteen messages about women, “woman” or “feminine” is explicitly mentioned, more than twice as many as “man” or “masculine” in the information about them. That is, the genre is underlined as exceptional, as an anomaly. They appear constantly, yes, so present in the social debate, but without a name. Who is behind a generic subject that refers to half the population?

Parity in the media is a real accelerator of equality due to its ability to influence

We should be specifying, because, despite the cloying term empowerment, the majority of women’s lives continue to be anonymous, and they must be counted. Feminism must go down to work to convince editors –and the women themselves– about the inconvenience of this poor global percentage of authors or columnists –one for every two men– who thread the story of the world.

Parity in the media is a real accelerator of equality due to its ability to influence. For this reason, it is necessary to promote those who no longer need an alibi to stand out in the economics, politics or technology sections, free of bias. It is not necessary that they be exceptional, it is enough that they respond to the average, as normalitas or as bright as them.

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