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Statement by President of The Women’s Media Center, on the Dismissal of Jill Abramson

May 15, 2014

Statement by Julie Burton, President of The Women’s Media Center, on the Dismissal of Jill Abramson from The New York Times
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Jill Abramson helming the globally influential The New York Times, our national paper-of-record, was a stride of progress for women and we are disappointed at the news of her dismissal.  At the same time, the appointment of Dean Baquet as the first African American to serve as executive editor of The New York Times is historic and important. In both cases, it matters that women and people of color are part of the conversations conducted through the media and The New York Times is to be applauded for both history-making appointments.
We were troubled to learn that there was a wage gap for the top woman at The New York Times and this raises concerns for the pay status of all women at the paper.  We know from our recent Women’s Media Center research, Divided: The Media Gender Gap, that only 31 percent of The New York Times’ bylines were by women.
Jill Abramson’s commitment to and success at maintaining the editorial excellence of The New York Times has been acknowledged by the Times’ management and it seems clear it was not the quality of her work that led to this dismissal, but possibly her willingness to rock the boat on issues of diversity and pay.  We don’t know all the facts, but if these reports are true, it seems that Abramson was judged by a different standard than her white male predecessors – not on the editorial or financial success of the paper – but by the fact that she made management uncomfortable by raising issues of pay and equal treatment. 
We hope that Dean Baquet will make the hiring and promotion of women – and people of color -- in the newsroom a priority for The New York Times and that he will set a public goal to close the gender gap for bylines and for pay.
The Women’s Media Center Status of Women in US Media Report 2014 can be read here:
The Women’s Media Center works to make women and girls visible and powerful in media. The Women’s Media Center produces original content and journalism through WMC Features, WMC FBomb, and WMC Women Under Siege; trains women and girls to be media savvy and media ready; promotes women experts to the media through WMC SheSource; advocates, educates, and organizes through social media; conducts groundbreaking research and reporting on media representation and accuracy, including its annual publication The Women’s Media Center Status of Women in U.S. Media Report; produces media style guides on covering women politicians and reproductive issues; and documents and reports sexualized violence as a tool of war in Syria and other conflict regions.
The Women’s Media Center was co-founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem.
For press information about The Women’s Media Center, contact Rachel Larris at:, 202-587-1625.