By Erin Matson, NOW Action Vice President
Yesterday (that’s Sunday, July 10, 2011), Meet the Press ran a sex-segregated show with not a single woman guest.
Could it really be that no woman was available to comment on the topics, the debt ceiling negotiations and the 2012 elections? Of course not.
Or could it really be that women are somehow not affected by politics? Of course not.
This is outrageous. Typically, the Sunday talk shows throw in one woman in addition to five to eight men — also outrageous.
Just two weeks ago at the 2011 NOW National Conference, I spoke about the mutual dependency between the pathetic inclusion of women in public life (and as shown on Meet the Press specifically) and the rampant spread of unrealistic images of women and girls (exemplified by the Miss USA ads running in between yet another show with one woman and several men):[video:youtube:-vPWIFDh8wY]
On Meet the Press and in all political media, it is well-past time for an equitable representation of women as pundits and commentators.
We can’t expect an end to the exclusion and erasure of women from political commentary to come simply because it has grown increasingly unfashionable over a period of decades to state the sexist ideas that underpin these traditions: That women are inferior; that women do not belong in public life; that women are not equal human beings.
Nope, these ideas are no longer stated in the open. And in fact, thanks in large part to organizations like NOW, the possibilities for a woman in this country have expanded dramatically since Meet the Press began to air in 1947.
What is indeed so strange is that Meet the Press has not changed. Before you enter your comments to them on the form I’m linking out to, take a scroll down and look at the photograph of a show that aired 64 years ago. The ratio of women to men has stayed the same or gotten worse: Five men, and one woman.
Please sign this petition to Meet the Press host David Gregory on Twitter and also use the show’s comment form to demand the inclusion of women. With pressure, we can change this — without pressure, we can expect the same amount of change as we’ve seen over the past 64 years.