10/10 Would Recommend
Recap of all books, articles, podcasts, and documentaries featured in our In the Balance newsletter (on top of our Hot Off the Press series). To get even more inspired for ways to include women in the news while enriching your scope of knowledge.
Climate & Environment
Founded in 2020, She Changes Climate is a very active organization focusing their action on female representation at all levels of climate decision-making. In this 17-minute documentary shared in April 2022, they aim to give a “voice to those female leaders left absent from global climate negotiations.” The short film — also titled SHE Changes Climate — is a good way to get acquainted with the movement and with some key climate change activists.
“We, women, started to dive because, during this time, there was nothing left to eat. It was very tough. People suffered. So we started to dive to be able to eat.” When the land went dry in the village of Adara, on the Atauro island, women turned to the ocean for survival. To this day, only they go diving, searching for food, and providing on a daily basis for their community. A 15-minute documentary by Slice.
📹 Feminist Economics (2022)
Whether you are familiar or not with feminist economics, this is a series of videos that’s well worth your time. In five episodes, renowned Indian economist Jayati Ghosh guides us through theory and actual policies to better understand how intertwined today’s economies and gender imbalances are. It’s beginner-friendly, easy to watch, and explains a lot. One of many interesting productions by the Institute for New Economic Thinking.
Many comments in the news on how a woman is dressed bring nothing to the table. But when fashion serves to convey a political message, it should be addressed. “Optics is part of politics, which makes wardrobe choices fair game in many news stories, and not just in those featuring women.” An interesting read on Nieman Journalism Lab.
London-based agency AKAS has taken an interest in the (under)representation of women in news coverage related to the climate crisis. The results of the report are not surprising, but it is striking to see actual figures confirm the lack of women’s perspectives when it comes to climate action. This article is a must-read for any journalist. It connects the dots and paints a clear picture of the situation with all the needed data.
🎧 Visible Women (2022–today)
It’s good to hear from Caroline Criado Perez again. After years of investigating, she first presented her findings on the gender data gap (not to be confused with the gender gap) in her book Invisible Women. But that was in 2019, and therefore pre-Covid-19-pandemic. The conversation around gender and women has changed a lot since then. In June 2022, Caroline Criado Perez launched a podcast titled Visible Women to continue the work she had begun with her book. In each episode, the writer delves into a news topic, and connects it to the gender data gap. Her episode following the Roe v. Wade overturn in the U.S. is very interesting as it leads her to one core question around data: How to keep the people behind it safe?
Media, Arts & Culture
📖 Pop Culture, Politics, and the News (2023)
In this book, Joel Penney makes the case that pop culture news is essentially social and political commentary with real, meaningful impact. And so, media leaders and editors should invest more resources in this beat that shapes our lives. When researching social media and political expression, the author found that conservative audiences in particular engage with entertainment news to express their opposition to what they believe the story or the journalist behind it stands for. He also interviewed conservative journalists for the book who confirmed the trend of using culture for politics. “It’s become the mantra in these circles of news commentators and pundits who are looking at pop culture as a way to make larger political arguments and get their audience angry and worked up,” Joel Penney said.
Peace & Security
During the 1991-2002 civil war in Sierra Leone, women played a significant role in restoring the peace. Yet, post-conflict, their contribution didn’t lead to more inclusion in politics nor representation in leadership positions. Written by Sierra Leonean and Africanist scholars and experts, this book explores the different impacts the conflict has had on women’s and girls’ lives and empowerment. To learn more about the book, you can also take a look at this analysis by The Washington Post.
“Think and Resist: Conversations about Feminism and Peace” is a podcast produced by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) in 2022. Eight episodes, eight different angles, including disarmament and digital (in)security. Its fourth episode caught our attention in particular. It discusses how, in many countries, masculinity and militarism go hand-in-hand. This flips the coin. We go from “what can women do to make the situation better?” to “what can men do?” The organization has also shared a 48-minute documentary around the concept of militarized masculinities, “Power on Patrol”.
Politics & Policies
For her book Women and Leadership, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard collaborated with economist and ex Nigerian minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and talked with world leaders such as Hillary Clinton, Michelle Bachelet and Theresa May. In this conversation, she reflects on sexism in media coverage of politics, the pressure put on women journalists, and what she hopes to see in the media.
Historically, women tend to enter politics at a later time in life than men, and even when they don’t, they have to deal with double standards when it comes to age. This article looks back on the specific challenges of aging and family life for women politicians in the United States.
Science, Health & Technology
Based on the latest knowledge that is available on the female body, Lisa Falco attempts to show that it is truly a wonder on its own, and not just a variation of the male body that is too often considered by medicine as the “default” human body. Along with describing how the female body evolves throughout the years (spoiler alert: hormones play a huge part in everything), she shares her own journey with discovering her own bodily reactions. “There is not enough research performed on women,” she writes. “It is, however important that the research that has been done is spread, implemented, and becomes common knowledge.”
📖 The Invisible Kingdom (2022)
An investigation by Meghan O’Rourke on chronic illnesses based on the author’s own experience and a decade of interviews with doctors, patients, researchers, and public health experts. Recommended to us by Ed Yong.
A memoir in which Sarah Ramey shares her story of living years with a disease that doctors couldn’t understand and even accused her of imagining. Recommended to us by Ed Yong.
📖 Doing Harm (2018)
An exposé by Maya Dusenbery, based on scientific and sociological research, interviews with doctors and researchers, and personal stories from women across the United States showing how sexism in medicine endangers lives. Recommended to us by Ed Yong.