Week in Review: Jan. 24-28

*Week in Review is a weekly post that highlights some of the major stories related to gender issues this week. Some of these stories may have already appeared in our News Feed or in the week’s Gender Checks. We’ll at times include a longer analysis of stories as well as bring attention to stories that may have slipped through the cracks of the week’s news cycle.

State of the Union

President Barack Obama gave his second State of the Union address Tuesday, discussing a plan to “win the future.” Media outlets focused in on key issues in the speech such as investing in education and infrastructure to stay competitive with other nations as well as working to reduce the deficit.

The blogosphere was a”twitter” with commentary, including some women who noted the absence of certain social issues. During their #sheparty discussion on Twitter on Wednesday, the Women’s Media Center asked what the take was on Obama’s speech. Commenters noticed missing issues such as equal pay, violence against women and abortion.

Also observed was the coverage of the speech. A post at Feministing provided a roundup of commentary on the address, noting at the end that it was “virtually impossible to find any female pundits commenting on the SOTU on the nation’s most notable progressive media outlets.”

At the same time, the Women’s Media Center released its report card for Obama on the state of the union for women and children, giving him an overall pass “with room for improvement.” Obama’s lowest grade on the report card, aside from some incompletes, was a C for appointing women. It cites the Center for American Women and Politics and notes that Obama appointed women to fill seven of 22 existing cabinet or sub-cabinet positions, or approximately 32 percent. The high for women was under President Bill Clinton at 42 percent. It also partly holds Obama responsible as a leader of the Democratic party for the lack of women running in recent elections. Quoting Katherine Kleeman with the CAWP, the report card notes, “the Democrats aren’t putting as much effort as the Republicans into grooming great women candidates at the local level.”

In other news

Also this week, women were part of the dialogue on the situations on Tunisia and Egypt. N’Dri Assie-Lumumba, a professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University, has noted that women are playing significant roles in these social movements. She says, “Even if African and Middle Eastern women don’t always have easy access to public platforms to express their ideas and voice their opinions,… they have consistently constituted a formidable and determining force in the struggle against any system of oppression.”

Here are a couple articles to check out if you’ve missed them.

-NPR: “In Tunisia, Women Play Equal Role In Revolution

-AFP: “Tunisian women fear Islamist return

-Guardian: “An eyewitness account (by a woman) of the Egypt protests

-Daily Beast: “Egypt Revolution: the Purity Protests” (Women increasingly taking part in the politics of the street)

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Gender check: 1/27/11 – Midwest

*Gender Checks are quick examinations of gender representation in individual news articles for the purpose of discovering trends over time. Click here to read more.

Website: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (stltoday.com)

On Stltoday.com, one of the lead articles featured on the home page as of 2:30 p.m. (MST) Thursday, Jan. 27, was titled “No federal disaster aid for Missouri tornado victims.” Its subject was about a decision that victims of storms around New Year’s would not be receiving federal disaster aid.

Here is its gender breakdown:

Author: Female

Human sources  (listed in order mentioned):

1. Male, FEMA spokesman

2. Male, mayor

3. Male, governor (paraphrased)

4. Male, PIO for related agency (paraphrased)

Notes/analysis: All of the sources in the article were male. No comments were yet included from the actual victims of the storm.


Website: St. Louis Beacon

On the St. Louis Beacon, one of the lead articles featured on the home page as of 2:15 p.m. (MST) Thursday, Jan. 27, was titled “Educators welcome Obama’s emphasis on schools.” Its subject was local education officials’ responses and opinions on President Barack Obama’s comments about education in Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

Here is its gender breakdown:

Author: Male

Human sources  (listed in order mentioned):

1. Male, U.S. president

2. Female, president of Missouri NEA

3. Male, dean of education at university

4. Male, executive director of charter school group

5. Female, state education commissioner

Notes/analysis: The article includes a balanced gender mix of state sources in education. The article also includes two mug shots — one of a female and one of a male source.