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Between the Lines

This column by Richard K. Rein was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper

on February 3, 1999.

Without reservation we can tell you that each of the

three women featured on this week’s cover would have made it into

the pages of U.S. 1 anyhow, with or without a special issue on women

to pave the way.

But we do have a special Women in Business issue, an annual event

since 1994, and their stories are being told now to coincide with

that. Is this good journalism, good business, or just political correctness?

A little of each, we suspect, but that should not obscure the reality

that women’s issues are still deserving of coverage. Our Survival

Guide section this week includes a report from the New York-based

Catalyst Foundation, dedicated to studying the presence of women in

the workplace. Its findings are that, even now, top-earning corporate

officers who are women earn 68 cents in salary and bonus to every

dollar earned by top men. It also notes that the wage disparity continues

among those lower on the corporate totem pole. The status of women

in business is still an issue, it seems safe to say.

We at U.S. 1 looked back over last year’s papers and took our own

inventory. On the front cover we presented 58 male faces and just

26 female faces. On the Preview section cover, highlighting mostly

the performing arts, the balance was closer: 70 women to 86 men.

Moreover, as we edited our cover stories for this week’s issue, we

couldn’t help but be reminded that working women with children are

assumed to be the decision-makers regarding the children, speaking

for the family on matters ranging from who cooks dinner to how the

kids get to the doctor’s.

Not that men don’t help out along the way (even now our boss is figuring

out how to get the six-year-old to the dentist on Thursday and the

logistics of his Saturday "soccer mom" role). But we can count

on one hand the number of U.S. 1 stories over the past 15 years that

have asked men to explain their parenting role. That alone might represent

an advantage for men in the salary chase: They don’t have to explain

who’s taking care of the kids while they are working.

Will these disparities be reduced as we move beyond the dawn of the

information age? Here’s a release that came in last week via E-mail:

"U.S. News & World Report has announced that Susannah Fox,

28, will be the new Assistant Managing Editor for New Media. Fox will

be responsible for setting the course for the magazine’s new-media

projects, including the three channels of U.S. News Online (www.usnews.com),

as well as various CD-ROM and video initiatives.

"Prior to her new role, Fox was the Managing Editor of U.S. News

Online. Fox first joined U.S. News & World Report in 1995 to help

design, write, and produce the "Getting Into Colleges" CD-ROM.

She stayed with U.S. News to help launch the Web site in November,

1995. Fox then served as the U.S. News Online correspondent to the

1996 Democratic convention, eventually taking over editing duties

for the News & Views channel.

"Before joining U.S. News, Fox worked in the start-up phase of

RealNetworks, the Web-based streaming audio and video software company.

She has also worked as a research assistant for the Harwood Group,

a public issues research firm in Bethesda, MD. Fox grew up in Princeton,

New Jersey, and graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in

anthropology."

The release jumped out at us. Not only is Fox from Princeton,

but she earned her first byline in U.S. 1 (for a freelance article)

and she is the daughter of our own senior editor, Barbara Fox.

But even more compelling was that she had reached the upper echelons

of her field before even turning 30. But why not? It’s a business

that barely existed when she graduated from college. On a new playing

field, surely some new rules will be forged. Among young Fox’s summer

employment in the Princeton area was a stint with Thacker & Frank

Advertising. As Rob Thacker looks back at her rise, he notes that

"we used to think you had to climb the ladder. Now I look over

and see there is a another, different, ladder."


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