Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Women, the Internet and politics: "Trust me, we’re out there."

BY Morra Aarons-Mele | Wednesday, October 3 2007

At the New York Times, Katharine Seelye wrote Monday, "Are more men engaged in politics online than women, and if so, why?" Is it, as commenter Michael writes,

Because men are more interested in wasting time in debating abstract ideas, principles, and other high-sounding but vaporous stuff. Women are more interested in the concrete work of dealing with real people and real relationships...

or, do

Men just have too much time on their hands! Perhaps if women had wives to pick up their socks and cook their dinners, they would have more time to argue politics online. But we DO vote and that’s the important thing!!

Or perhaps,

Three primary reasons men are more engaged:

1. Look around the shopping malls. Its hard to do two things at once. Yes, women could blackberry into blogs, but then they’d have to put down all those shopping bags.

2. A far small proportion of women than men are capable of the type of articulate reasoning widely found in blogs discussions.

3. A large bloc of women are more bogged down in housework, specifically, single mothers. Half a generation of American women poorly reasoned that they impregnate themselves by their disinterested “bad boys” rather than sincere romantic suitors. Now those same women are stuck raising kids alone - and truly short on time for intellectual pursuits.
— Posted by Andrew

Gee, thanks Andrew for that pearl of wisdom. Seelye's article is now live on the Times site with quotes from me and Emily McKhann, who was one of the only bloggers credentialed to cover the Clinton Global Initiative last week. Before the article came out, I wrote about this topic on BlogHer, in the context of an interview I did with Marie Wilson, President of the White House Project and a seriously amazing woman. She gave me some advice: if I want to be taken more seriously as a political blogger, maybe I should blog less about traditional "women's issues."

Now what do you think of that one? I think of Emily McKhann's fantastic coverage of the Clinton Global Initiative. I think of Virginia Debolt's techy take on "One Laptop per Child." And Kim Pearson on the Jena 6, and the general "dailyness" of the media and news cycle.

In her book the Second Stage, Betty Friedan writes about famed Congresswoman and activist Bella Abzug:

Fired as head of the President's Advisory Committee on Women when she (Abzug) insisted that inflation, unemployment, and the federal budget were women's issues, she was now trying to start a new women's power base...."

Maybe the Internet is our new "power base." I'm still debating how seriously I take the online "women's issues" ghetto notion. But in the meantime, here are some more great women political bloggers:

* Professor Kim's News Notes
* The new Silicon Valley mom's Momocrats (pro-John Edwards)-she wrote, "Trust me, we're out there" in the NYT comments section.
* Gloria Feldt's new blog on Huffington Post
* MediaLizzy, Fred Thompson supporter and smart, funny writer.

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

GO

wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

GO

The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

GO

tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

GO

Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

GO

monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

GO

More