Brian Lehrer has issues and everyone in New York is talking about it. WNYC and its political site itsafreecountry.org launched a new election year project called That’s My Issue. On air, online and via social networks, WNYC is asking our audience to share their personal experiences that shape the issues they care about in this election.
We are hearing personal accounts that touch on issues ranging from gun control to marriage equality from people around the country. Each story comes with its own circumstances and complexities. They are all distinctly personal and they are all worth hearing. While these stories elevate key issues at play in our society, they don’t attempt to bring us to one definitive conclusion or political side. They just offer perspective through human experience. Through this project, Brian and the It’s A Free Country team are living up to the promise of public media in an incredibly powerful way.
As a long-time listener of WNYC, I thought it was only fair that I share too. While there are many issues I care deeply about, That’s My Issue is only calling upon me to pick one. So here it is: opportunities for women in business, politics and society in general.
For the past sixteen years, I have had the privilege of leading New York Public Radio. I’ve worked with incredible women like reporters Beth Fertig and Marianne McCune, and our CFO Michele Rusnak. Their contributions to New York Public Radio’s success have been indispensable. I know there are so many talented women out there like them. Yet when I step back and look at the broader landscape, I see that women are still struggling to break through that ceiling. Only 4% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. When it comes to women in the boardroom or the halls of Congress, we seem dead stuck at 16%. The 2010 Alliance for Board Diversity Census reported that the total percentage of board seats held by women at Fortune 500 companies was only 15.7%. According to a February 2012 Congressional Research Service Report, women represented 50.7% of the U.S. population in 2010 but only 16.6% of the House of Representatives and 15.0% of the Senate in the 112th Congress.
We need to be better than this and change should always start from within. At New York Public Radio, we know we need to get more female voices on the air and we’re working on it. We know as a media company we have a responsibility to represent the diversity of our public and we are always open to hearing from our audience about what we can be doing differently. I think actions speak louder than words and it’s time every company took a long and hard look at what they could do to cultivate women in leadership. I think it’s an exercise well worth doing.
To submit your issue, visit That's My Issue.
Through a series of essays, Laura Walker, President and CEO of New York Public Radio, explores the role of media, stories that make you think and content that just deserves a shout out.