This website began as a grad school blogging project inspired by something Virginia Woolf wrote long before the advent of even the most giant and rudimentary computers. In Three Guineas, she responds to a letter from an unidentified gentleman, describing the limits placed on women in the early 20th Century:
Both the Army and the Navy are closed to our sex. We are not allowed to fight. Nor again are we allowed to be members of the Stock Exchange. …We cannot preach sermons or negotiate treaties. Then again although it is true that we can write articles or send letters to the Press, the control of the Press — the decision what to print, what not to print — is entirely in the hands of your sex.
Much has changed in the 100 years since Woolf wrote these words. Women serve in the military, run for public office and work as stockbrokers, ministers and, yes, journalists. But decisions about what is and isn’t news still rest largely in the hands of white men. Worldwide, women represent just one-third of working journalists. They’re even less common in the highest ranks of major news organizations and, as my own research suggests, this trend may be repeating itself at digital startups.
As journalism relies more heavily on technology and entrepreneurship — two more areas where men tend to dominate — how can we ensure women and other underrepresented groups will have a hand in building the future of news? What does their participation — or lack thereof — mean for the kinds of stories that will be told? What can we learn about the women who shaped early versions of digital journalism? And how might that history illuminate a path to a more inclusive media ecosystem?
I began to seek answers to these questions on my blog and continue to explore them through my writing and academic research. My posts are (very) sporadic but you can see them — and the blog’s full archive — here.