In 2012, Democratic activist Gina Glantz attended a political panel at Harvard, a post-mortem of the just-completed presidential campaign. The moderator and panelists were all men. “It just sent me over the edge,” she said.
To Glantz, 73, the lack of diversity was unforgivable. Where was Beth Myers, one of Mitt Romney’s closest advisers? Where was Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s friend and top aide? Where was Gwen Ifill, co-anchor and co-managing editor of PBS NewsHour?
For the love of God, she thought, where are the ladies?
That question led her to a cause that she calls “GenderAvenger,” an online community of men and women determined to diversify the public square. Glantz writes on the site:
The disconcerting news is how many instances of women being absent from or underrepresented in the public arena were reported. Too many of us have attended a conference with all or mostly male panels, watched legislative hearings featuring men and more men, read magazine roundtables, anthologies, and top ten lists, and found few, if any women.
The really good news is how many people want to do something about it.
GenderAvenger scores the male-female balance of conference and television panels, arming its followers with clickable pie charts that colorfully highlight the scoring. The least diverse organizations get swamped and seared by social-media activists hoping to shame them into including more women. Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of the site’s “Fame & Shame” tab.
This is no “girl thing.” Glantz is looking for a few good men. I know because she asked me, “Will you sign the pledge?”