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Category: Art and Entertainment, Health

Raising Our Voices: Disparities in Health Care and Film Criticism

August 22, 2008

In November, Women Will Vote With Health Care In Mind

by Judy Waxman

Summary: Health care reform is a big issue in this year's presidential election. In the latest WMC Election Dispatch, author Judy Waxman tackles the complex topic of health care and how the current system negatively impacts women. Waxman points out that women have greater health care needs and responsibilities than men: "Reproductive health needs require [women] to get regular check-ups…Meanwhile, eight in ten mothers are primarily responsible for taking their child to doctors' appointments..." Despite these needs, women are often uninsured or underinsured. Waxman writes, "Latina, African American, and Native American women are dramatically more likely than white women to be among these 17 million who lack coverage." Since women earn less, they are more likely to have problems paying medical bills, and pay 10 percent of their income on out-of-pocket medical costs. Women who do have insurance often pay higher premiums since gender is a consideration for setting the cost of coverage. Waxman shares a list of questions asked by the National Women's Law Center about whether federal or state health reforms meet the needs of women. The questions address issues such as health care disparities, insurance market reform and affordability.

Women Film Critics: An Endangered Species?

by Jennifer Merin

Summary: While movies about women have enjoyed great success this summer, female film critics are grossly underepresented in America's top 100 newspapers. In the latest WMC Commentary, author Jennifer Merin writes about the paucity of outlets for female film critics based on a report released by the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, an organization which Merin heads. This new study indicates that 70 percent of movie reviews published in America's top newspapers are written by men, and that 47 percent of those publications ran no reviews written by female critics. Merin and her organzation where not surprised by the numbers. She comments, "The deeply entrenched disparity between the number of women who go to movies and the number of women who write about them rankles female film critics. But the issues extend far beyond a relatively small group of media professionals to... moviegoers-especially women." Merin also cites a study of's list of 50 best-selling movie history and criticism books which includes only seven women authors; it also found that women inductees into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences averaged only 27 percent of new members over the last five years. Merin concludes that her orgazation "is committed to raising the volume on women critics' voices wherever we hear them, even if they come as faint whispers."