As women involved in politics, Carmen and I often get asked about combating sexism in elections and at the capitol. One of my favorite resources on the subject is a new initiative called “Name it. Change it.”
Name It. Change It. is a non-partisan project of WCF Foundation, Women’s Media Center, and Political Parity. Their goal is to end sexist and misogynistic coverage of women candidates by all members of the press—from bloggers to radio hosts to television pundits.
Name it. Change it. challenges the media to think before they talk about female candidates: If you wouldn’t ask a man about his children at home, don’t ask her. Don’t use shrill or attractive to describe her unless you would use the same to describe him.
The initiative challenges us all to be on the lookout for sexist commentary and remarks about women candidates in the media. When we “name” sexism by calling it out, we have the opportunity to “change” it. If you witness instances of sexist media coverage, they provide a place to report it and a place for journalists to pledge gender neutrality in their reporting.
The hope is that by eliminating media attacks on women, more women will be willing to run for office. In a world where women are 50% less likely than men to seriously consider running, we need all the help we can get.
~ Alisha Sedor, NARAL Pro Choice South Dakota