Mother Jones noticed a discrepancy in the "notable deaths" lists assembled by major newspapers: the majority of the "notable" people listed were men. So, using a series of charts Dana Liebelson looked at the question: "Is the issue that notable women aren't dying—or that newspapers aren't reporting it?" The New York Times obituaries editor Bill McDonald explained to Liebelson that one of the reasons for the unbalanced gender ratio is that the people they write on "largely shaped the world of the 1950's, 60's and, increasingly, the 70s, and those movers and shakers were—no surprise—predominantly white men." That said, Liebelson outlines counter arguments from people like Gloria Steinem: the accomplishments of women might be in areas and fields that weren't as heavily publicized or considered as seriously as those that were dominated by men. Liebelson went on to look more deeply at the demographics of these lists, for instance noting that women showed up more frequently when they were artists or musicians:
Liebelson also finds that, even though there should be more "notable" women who have died because of generational changes, the New York Times's list in the past two years shows a widening gender gap.
Click through to see more of her charts.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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