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Opinion Women, please speak up

A year ago, motivated by the reader who eloquently wrote about how women were underrepresented on the Times page in The Times, we started the Women’s Project, with the aim of correcting this imbalance and better reflecting diversity in society. We are committed to working towards the goal of gender equality and reporting on our progress in February 2020.

We haven’t reached the goal line yet.

For the past year, we have tracked and entered the gender data table for each author we published on the Daily Messages page. As of today, the number of women has reached 43 percent, and 57 percent of men – numbers that have remained remarkably stable for several months. Although there is no accurate data available from previous years, we know that there are now many more women on the page than before.

We have also counted more requests. There is a percentage (when the writer’s gender can be determined) about 25 to 30 percent of women, roughly the same percentage a year ago, before the start of the project.

There were consistent patterns: politics, economics, and foreign affairs? The majority of requests come from men. (Women account for more than a third of the messages posted on politics.) Parenting, health, education and relationships? More women. (For more details on posted messages, see below. **)

Interestingly, entries for Our contest of writing letters in secondary schools last year was disproportionate for girls and young women, as evidenced by our published responses. When we asked readers to name the book that had a great impact on their lives, the vast majority of the messages submitted and published were women.

Some results surprised us: Do you care about car management? We have published letters from five women, none of them have published letters and we have issued a call from 33 writers, all of them women, to stop using the term “quid pro quo” in the investigation of the dismissal, in favor of the most obvious “bribery” or “blackmail”.

However, we are not satisfied yet. While there has been a slight rise in women’s messages after our announcement of the project, we still sometimes struggle to ensure that women’s voices are heard on a wide range of topics.

In the one-year project mark, we reaffirm our commitment to work to achieve gender equality. But what has been strengthened by this project is that our speech pages are richer for this new set of voices – and that obliges us to broaden our scope further, to ensure that a set of messages from a variety of writers on the move are spread forward.

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