What sources do you use to get your information? Whether it’s a newspaper, television, or some form of online source such as Wikipedia, the information you’re receiving is overwhelmingly coming more from men than women. Simply put, the voices of women are poorly represented within the arena of public debate.
In order to increase the diversity of ideas within public conversation, the University of San Diego invited the OpEd Project to campus for a two-day seminar on November 10 and 11.
The OpEd Project defines itself as, “an initiative to expand public debate, with an immediate focus on enlarging the pool of women experts who are accessing (and accessible to) the opinion forums and editors who need them. We target and train women experts in all fields to write for the op-ed pages of major newspapers, online sites and other key forums of public discourse.”
In total, 19 female faculty members from the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies (KSPS), the School of Business Administration (SBA), and the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) participated in the seminar. Over the two days, faculty members were taught the steps in constructing an enticing op-ed from beginning to end.
One of the participating faculty members was Noelle Norton, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. According to Norton, the OpEd Project “takes a scholarly approach and translates it into something readable by the general public; it needs to catch their eye.” The project provides experts in a variety of fields the tools to be able to reach the general public and to make their opinion understandable by the public.
By translating the scholarly work into something attractive to the general public, the author of the op-ed is afforded the chance to insert their opinion and findings into public discourse, furthering the exposure of the issue and the author as well. It allows for unheard voices to reach an audience in which they have been unable to before. Women are starting to take a larger role within commentary forums and cutting into the 80-90 percent.
Assistant Dean Pauline Berryman Powell also attended the seminar and when asked what she thought of it, Powell responded, “It’s like no other workshop I’ve ever been to. It taught me how to write in a different way, how to attract the reader.”
The seminar was an incredible experience for the female faculty who participated and it provided them with key skills to allow them to insert themselves into opinion forums. These USD faculty members are better able to become a voice on the issues that matter to them and are creating a more balanced arena of public debate.
– Ryan Garney ‘13
For more information on the OpEd project go to www.theopedproject.org.