Readers often overlook the byline of a story indicating the writer’s name, and although reading an article without knowing who wrote it will still leave you informed, when it comes to commentary, bylines can provide insights into what kind of world view or life experiences have influenced the opinions being expressed.
As part of Informed Opinions’ mandate to help bridge the gender gap in public discourse, we’ve been conducting content analysis studies of the op ed pages of prominent major market daily newspapers. Most recently we looked at the Calgary Herald.
Encouragingly, the paper features a significant number of female columnists on its opinion pages, including the Editorial Page editor herself. However, of the 30 outside commentaries published during the period of our 3-week analysis, only three (10%) were written by women.
In contrast, 43% of the Herald’s columns reflected women’s perspectives.
So our study of the Herald demonstrated that, while there are many women writing opinion commentary, not enough female op ed writers are being published.
An increasing number of Informed Opinions’ grads submitting timely and relevant analysis to, and being published in papers across the country are starting to change that.
In the meantime, we all have a role to play: If you read a great opinion piece by a woman, please share it with us and your network. And if your own informed opinion can add value and context to an important story, we encourage you to put it to paper. Our commentary writing resources, designed to help women craft compelling, publishable analysis, may be of use.