Iris Magazine hosted an Open Table on March 20 about Bad A** Women in Media. Moderated by UVA’s Siva Vaidhyanathan, the Robertson Professor in Media Studies, the event consisted of a panel of three incredible women based in Charlottesville: Andrea Press, Jane Friedman and Allison Wright.
Andrea Press began the conversation talking about successful women such as Rachel Maddow, Gena Davis and Laia Abril- all of whom are at the top of their game despite being at a disadvantage when they started out. Allison Wright spoke about Rachel Sklar, a lawyer and women’s rights activist, and her use of social influence to change the “ratio” of men-women in the workforce and the technology world.
The motive behind discussing such a profound yet sensitive issue stems from many women, the panelists from the Open Table included, being outraged about what has and has not changed in the perception of women in many industries. Beyond casting an un warranted “cloud” on women, these (often false) perceptions hinder women not only in getting into certain industries, but the level of their pay once they do enter the workforce.
Professor Vaidhyanatha talked about the implications of using words that imply a man-centric connotation- such as “brogrammer.” The deeper cultural phenomena behind these words implies a culture where women are ostracized and not treated as equals.
The visibility and influence of women in the 21st century should be a non-issue- yet it is as profound now as ever. The situation, status and challenges of women in various industries is an ongoing cause that aims to improve conditions. OpenGrounds is proud to take part in such great conversations and hopes to continue doing so in the future.
If you would like to learn more about women’s rights activism at the University of Virginia, please reach out to the Women’s Center (located on the Corner).