360° Coverage : Why the Jill Abramson Firing Hits Home for All Women

2 Updates

Why the Jill Abramson Firing Hits Home for All Women

May 16 2014, 4:01pm CDT | by

I admit that I have been obsessed about what has transpired at The NY Times for the last two days. I have read every single piece that has come out of this awful scrum which has really has become...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

23 weeks ago

Why the Jill Abramson Firing Hits Home for All Women

May 16 2014, 4:01pm CDT | by

I admit that I have been obsessed about what has transpired at The NY Times for the last two days. I have read every single piece that has come out of this awful scrum which has really has become about gender, power, leadership and pay equity. I have been profoundly impressed by the female journalists who have given tremendous context to this news. They are part of Jill Abramson and the women of her generation’s legacy. Please take a moment and read I Sort of Hope We Find Out That Jill Abramson Was Robbing the Cash Register by Rebecca Traister and Woman at the Top of the Masthead by Amanda Hess and The Prettiest Girl at the Party by Rachel Sklar and Jill Abramson Will Never Know Why She Got Fired by Ann Friedman.

When the news hit on Wednesday afternoon that Jill Abramson had been fired it hit me like a ton of bricks. I don’t know Jill Abramson, yet at the same time her story hit so close to home, especially when you think about Hollywood. Abramson’s firing came on the same day that the Cannes Film Festival opened and I spent the day writing and talking about the need for gender diversity at all levels of the film business. It was also the same day that director Jane Campion who is the president of the competition jury at Cannes acknowledged loudly for the whole world to hear, that the film business is inherently sexist and “time and time again we don’t get our share of representation. Excuse me gentlemen, but the guys seem to eat all the cake.”

Jane Campion had the attention of the world and used her powerful position to talk about the need for gender diversity in the film business. Jill Abramson had a powerful position as the Executive Editor of the NY Times and used it to bring up women with her. Under her tenure there was gender diversity for the first time on the masthead, the same masthead that she was summarily deleted from nanoseconds after her boss, the truly disappointing Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., kicked her to the curb. Since I always have Hollywood on the brain, this ridiculous lack of respect reminded me of the story that has now become Hollywood legend when Nina Jacobson was fired from her executive position at Disney while she was giving birth. But she’s clearly had the last laugh and is now probably making way more money and having a much better time as the producer the Hunger Games movies. I look forward to Abramson’s next act.

The thing that blows my mind time and again is that men in power really do not understand how unmoored women get when something of this magnitude occurs in our world. If we lived in a so-called post gender or post feminist world where women had an equal share of the power positions, then maybe, we’d be ok with something like this happening. But we live in a world where having a woman lead the NY Times or the IMF or the Academy or Harvard or maybe, just maybe, our country (in the hopefully not too distant future) still matters a great deal. These role models are how we see the world and when one is kicked off the mountain for no real reason but a bunch of small ones including asking for fair pay, as Jane Campion said at Cannes “women do notice.” We notice that the deck is not stacked fairly.

Speaking of fairness, this story also brings back memories of just how shitty Catherine Hardwicke was treated in the wake of the success of Twilight. She’s about to get an award this weekend from Women in Film and Television International Summit in Pittsburgh and she, god love her, is one of the only women in Hollywood to stand up and say that she was treated poorly and basically kicked to the curb after getting the franchise off to a fantastic start. In Hollywood once you have a success like she did, you are set for life. As she said to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette: “Honestly, I thought my struggles are going to be over. Now I’m going to get to make the movies I want to.” But the problem is that she wasn’t let into the boys club even with her success because she didn’t have a penis. As she says: “I was still in the girls ghetto.” This is truly an important lesson for all of us struggling in a world full of men in power positions – you may be let in the door but don’t get too comfortable because you won’t be here very long. This was a harsh lesson that director Kathryn Bigelow learned when she was left off the best director nomination list for her award winning film Zero Dark Thirty.

The Jill Abramson saga has a very dark cloud hanging over its already very dark cloud and it is about pay equity. It wasn’t too long ago that women sued the Times because they weren’t being paid fairly and they have sued other media outlets like Newsweek. It seems that Abramson has been paid unfairly for years when compared to her male colleagues and that she only recently found out this fact. I bet she was stark raving pissed. Did they think that she of all people was going to just let it go? This is a woman who co-wrote a book about how Anita Hill was treated. Come on. She clearly opened a can of worms that it sounds like exacerbated an already frayed working relationship with her boss.

This fight for money is something all women who have worked anywhere know about. Demanding equal pay is not a very easy thing to do – just ask Lilly Ledbetter. But by her standing up on this issue  her legacy as a trailblazing feminist is secured. She took a bullet for us all. I am sure that every female reporter at the Times  - and quite frankly every woman in workplaces across the country – are looking at their male colleagues and wondering if he is getting a bigger paycheck than she is. And sadly, the answer, is probably – yes.

 
Update
2

8 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

8 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double t ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Kenya to remove ghost workers from payroll
Nairobi, Oct 25 (IANS) The Kenyan government Friday said it will remove all ghost workers from its payroll in November.
 
 
Mexico joins efforts to combat Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Mexico City, Oct 25 (IANS) Mexico is joining the international efforts to combat an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, the foreign affairs ministry said Friday.
 
 
Both US nurses recover from Ebola: hospitals
Washington, Oct 25 (IANS) Both US nurses who contracted Ebola while caring for a patient from Liberia have recovered from the potentially deadly disease, the hospitals that treated them said Friday.
 
 
UN gives Rwanda $7.2 mn for policy planning
Kigali, Oct 25 (IANS) The government of Rwanda and One UN Rwanda Friday signed 7.2 million dollars financing deal to build capacity in data generation and enhance evidence based on policy planning.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Second MERS case reported in Qatar
Doha, Oct 23 (IANS) A 43-year-old man in Qatar has tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the second confirmed case of the deadly virus in 10 days, media reported Thursday. The patient had...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Two people die in Pakistan bomb blast
Islamabad, Oct 23 (IANS) At least two people were killed and 12 others injured in an explosion that took place in Pakistan's Balochistan province Thursday, media reported. The bomb was planted on a motorcycle, Dawn...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Trott extends contract with Warwickshire till 2017
London, Oct 23 (IANS) England batsman Jonathan Trott, whose mental issues led to his abrupt departure from last winter's Ashes tour, has confirmed his successful comeback to competitive cricket by signing a new three-...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Srikanth, Kashyap big movers in BWF rankings
Kuala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) Indian men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap jumped seven places each in the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings released Thursday while Olympic bronze medallist...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Alvin Stardust dead
London, Oct 23 (IANS) English singer Alvin Stardust died after a short illness. He was 72. Stardust's manager confirmed the news about his demise Thursday, reports mirror.co.uk. He was recently diagnosed with...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Indian man reunited with family after 40 years
Dubai, Oct 23 (IANS) An Indian man, who had disappeared from his hometown in Kerala nearly 40 years ago, has been found by his family at a hospital in Dubai in the UAE, a newspaper report said. Now in his 60s, Abdulla...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Srikanth, Kashyap, Saina rise in world rankings
Kala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) Indian men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap jumped seven places each in the latest released Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings Thursday while Olympic bronze medallist...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Flintoff signs for Big Bash side Brisbane Heat
Brisbane, Oct 23 (IANS) Former England captain and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who retired from international cricket in 2009, Wednesday confirmed that he will play for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League (BBL) this...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
OPEC daily basket price falls again
Vienna, Oct 23 (IANS/WAM) The basket of 12 crude oils of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) closed at $81.94 a barrel Wednesday compared to $82.09 Tuesday, the OPEC Secretariat said. The new OPEC...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Lopez to sign multi-million dollar deal?
Los Angeles, Oct 23 (IANS) Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez is reportedly in the final stages of securing a multi-million dollar deal to perform in Las Vegas. The 45-year-old is being offered $350,000 per show at The...
Read more on Celebrity Balla