This Week in Women: A Key Election Highlights Women Voters

This Week in Women is part of a series produced in partnership between Ms. and the Fuller Project for International Reporting. This column is also part of a newsletter by Across Women’s Lives. Sign up and receive it regularly here.  

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This week’s big story was on U.S. politics and women. In Alabama Wednesday morning, when Democrat Doug Jones defeated Trump loyalist Roy Moore, the media honed in on the racial divide among women voters: 98 percent of black women voted for Jones, while only 34 percent of white women opted for the Democrat.

The media narrative that followed tipped a hat to black women for “saving America.” But that bothered Kentucky blogger Hannah Drake, whose interesting take focuses on what it means to imply a black woman’s job is to “save you.” Instead, she argues, it’s time to back up words and hashtags praising black women with action.

Also on Wednesday, military analyst and Harvard Business School grad Gayle Tzemach Lemmon wrote for CNN that reporters covering women’s issues are too-often considered less serious as journalists. She recounted the time she was warned by a producer not to talk on air about women when giving her analysis on foreign affairs, lest she seem like a lightweight.

But it’s not only women giving voice to these concerns. Some men spoke out this week, including Jake Sullivan, Hillary Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff and campaign advisor. He reflected in Foreign Policy about a systemic failure, including his own, to challenge all-male circles that dominate US foreign policy.

The pace of sexual harassment charges quickened this week, starting with the ouster on Monday of Ryan Lizza from the New Yorker, followed by more accusations against chefs Mario Batali and Ken Friedman, as well as music mogul Russell Simmons. (Check out this week’s profile of LA Times journalist Amy Kaufman, who broke stories on Simmons and director Brett Ratner.) Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock preempted the inevitable by outing himself as a serial harasser on Thursday. Given how widespread harassment has been we could be at this for a while. Do you think this wave of sexual assault accusations is a witch hunt, or a long overdue reckoning?

And as for net neutrality, check out the vigorous comments section of Sheryl Sandberg’s Facebook post condemning the FCC’s decision to repeal Obama era rules that prevent internet service providers from slowing down or blocking certain content, or charging more for service. Her informed—and not necessarily friendly—followers present a chatty insider’s look at how Silicon Valley thinks about the issue.

Lastly, an interesting academic study revealed that female students are more likely to ask questions in a college seminar class if they get to ask first. What would happen if professors handed the microphone to female students before males?


Christina Asquith is former editor for Across Women’s Lives at PRI’s The World and founder/editor in chief of the Fuller Project for International Reporting, which contributed this story and which works with Peace Is Loud on women, peace and security issues.