Jill Abramson, the first woman executive editor for the New York Times, was fired for, according to the New York Post, having “a lawyer make polite inquiries about the pay and pension disparities.” New York Magazine claims Abramson was fired for mismanaging a personal matter. Nevertheless, it is undisputed that Abramson had asked for a pay rise. Abramson noted male reporters were paid more than women, and this had led to a dispute with her management team.
Bitch Magazine argues that whatever the catalyst for Abrasom’s dismissal, her plight highlights that Sheryl Sandberg’s brand of White corporate feminism does not go far enough. Sandberg famously asks that women “lean in” and ask men to help them out, but Sandberg’s celebrated book does nothing to address the institutional barriers to equality. For example, Bitch Mag notes that The Times published a guide for women saying that negotiating for pay is off putting in women (but welcome in men) and so they advised women should begin a “dialogue” for a pay rise (so they should take a “soft” approach to pleading for a pay rise).
The fact remains that women reporters earn $8,000 less than men, despite having the same skills and experience. Women CEOs are also more likely to be fired than men, and Media Matters reports that none of the USA’s top newspapers are run by women.
All in all, a sad state of affairs. Whatever led to this event, sexism in publishing is relevant.
Image via Annie Hayford.