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Gillibrand, O'Reilly, Eve Ensler & The Congo, Women & the Oscars

February 20, 2009

I'm sending along what we call The Women's Media Center's Essential Reading -- exclusive commentaries and reports written by women, about women. We publish several times a week and send these stories out to our subscribers, as well as all of our media contacts: we want the content to be considered for pick-up, and the writers to be considered as experts in the wider media world.

We began this project because of the discrepancy in opinion writing in mainstream media: 75% of syndicated op-ed writers are men; some of our major newspapers still have only one or two women writers -- and 18 or 20 male columnists. Other forms of diversity are also missing -- which is why we are always on the lookout for new voices.

Because we believe women should be paid for their work, we offer remuneration for articles published on the site -- and our great thanks for telling the stories that still get left out of the main debate. In addition, the writers get excellent editing skills and writing guidance from our Web Content Editor, Mary Thom.  The WMC's Exclusives are a part of our effort to make women visible and powerful in the media.

We hope you will help support these women writers by donating to the WMC. As always, thanks so much for your enthusiastic support.

With warmest wishes,

Carol Jenkins
WMC President

A Challenge to New York's New Senator -- and to Her Supporters 
by Erica Gonzalez

Senator Gillibrand's troublesome record on immigration policy was ignored by a number of social justice organizations quick to congratulate her. Now the senator and those who support her must embrace an agenda that protects the human rights of immigrants.

The Fox Disconnect
by Courtney E. Martin

As part of a Women's Media Center campaign demanding that Bill O'Reilly apologize for his personal, sexist attack on the legendary White House correspondent Helen Thomas, Courtney Martin, a member of the WMC Progressive Women's Voices program, appeared on The O'Reilly Factor this week to drive the message home. Here is Martin's account of the experience and its aftermath. (The WMC also received hundreds of hateful, profanity-laced, sometimes threatening emails and calls after calling for O'Reilly's apology.)

Turning Pain to Power
by Marianne Schnall

Women and girls in eastern Congo suffer sexual atrocities that are tactics of war in the region. Playwright Eve Ensler has joined with Dr. Denis Mukwege to ask us to imagine the unimaginable, to empathize and join together to end the terror.

Can Feminist Groups and Bloggers Bridge the Digital Divide? 
by Peggy Simpson

In Washington, DC, members of feminist organizations of long standing and feminist members of the blogospere met face to face for the first time. Now comes the hard part: to see what each group might offer the other.

Turning the Tide against the Taliban: What Works 
by Shazia Z. Rafi

The Obama Administration must empower the Pakistani people, who have already shown that they're ready and able to stand up against the forces oppressing women and girls in the valley of Swat and elsewhere. Here, the secretary-general of Parliamentarians for Global Action, tells us how.

Of Slumdog and Loveleen  
by Kavery Kaul

The author, a filmmaker herself, considers what the woman with the title of "co-director" contributed to the remarkable success of a leading contender for both best director and best picture at this year's Oscars-and what the controversy means for women filmmakers.

Frozen River: Oscar's 2009 Cinderella Story 
by Melissa Silverstein

A small budget movie breaks every conventional rule for success, and its writer and director, Courtney Hunt, is riding high -- whether or not her film wins awards next week.