"When you have a society and a woman living in that society is fired—as Abramson was a woman, living in a society, and was fired—this often becomes an opportunity for the people in that society to ask themselves questions."
"In the absence of actually having been present in the moments of Abramson and Sultzberger’s relationship, none of us can ever know what went on between them. But we can seek solace in context, and for this I can think of no finer source than a recently published book I just read, Lady, You’re Out of Here: Why Women Get Fired, written by Martha Frame, a historian at the University of Pennsylvania. In her fascinating account of women being fired throughout history, Frame provides telling anecdotes that reach from the guilds of the Middle Ages to Silicon Valley. What emerges is a chilling portrait of people who have a tendency to feel uncomfortable when women frown at them. These same people can tend to react poorly when women say things like, “Why does that guy get that much money, what a bunch of fucking bullshit,” but the people who react poorly to the frowning are not necessarily the same as the ones who react poorly to the questions about their predecessor making more money than they do, but sometimes—and that’s what makes this such a provocative read—they are.”
A Few Questions About Jill Abramson, From David Brooks For David Brooks By David Brooks
"Putting aside the unconfirmed and truly Paleolithic equal pay narrative for a moment, it is very possible that Abramson was canned because she wasn’t great at her job, or because her bosses didn’t think she was great at her job. There have certainly been reports—admittedly reports that pushed that gender-inflected “pushy” narrative—about her dimly-regarded management style. There is the fact that her paper didn’t collect its usual passel of Pulitzers this year. It’s also true that whatever the complaints about her personal style, Abramson worked to make the famously male paper’s masthead half female and that the paper has enjoyed startling growth in ad revenue in the midst of journalism’s darkest economic days.
Whatever the (possibly caveman) calculations performed by Arthur Sulzberger Jr. the publisher and chairman of the Times, his dismissal of Abramson—and naming of Dean Baquet, the paper’s former managing editor, to the top spot—should have been marked by something approximating respect.
It was not.
Abramson’s firing was among the most harsh and humiliating I’ve ever seen play out in the media’s recent history. Within minutes of the editorial meeting at which the turnover was announced, Abramson’s name had been scrubbed from the masthead of the paper she’s run for the past two and a half years. A Times spokeswoman told Buzzfeed that Abramson would not be remaining with the paper in any professional capacity and would have no involvement in the transition of power. Sulzberger made no pretense that this was anything other than an unceremonious dump. …
Observing… the cold glee with which Abramson was tossed on her ass today made me hope that eventually we will learn that she was stealing from the company cash register. Because that’s pretty much the only crime I can think of that would merit as swift and brutal an exit for a woman who—good or bad at her job, or, more likely, like most bosses in the world, some combination of the two—represented an undeniably historic first in journalism and at The New York Times. …
If newspapers and media outlets were run and staffed by as many women as men, Abramson’s dismissal would simply be media gossip: there would be argument about whether she was effective or ineffective; we could debate her own role in the paper’s pre-Iraq coverage, the quality of the paper under her tenure; the value of the multi-part series about a homeless adolescent published by The Times in December. The horrifying questions about whether her reported pursuit of equal pay played a role in her demise likely wouldn’t apply; if there were gender parity in workplaces, pay inequity would be much less of a reality.
As it is, the departure of Jill Abramson is a bigger and far grimmer story about a uniquely powerful woman, whose rise and whose firing will now become another depressingly representative chapter in the story of women’s terribly slow march toward social, professional and economic parity.”
Jill Abramson's Firing Was Singularly Humiliating
Why was NYT’s executive editor Jill Abramson fired today, and replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet, less than three years after she was appointed the first woman in the top job?
"Several weeks ago, I’m told, Abramson discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as both executive editor and, before that, as managing editor were considerably less than the pay and pension benefits of Bill Keller, the male editor whom she replaced in both jobs. “She confronted the top brass,” one close associate said, and this may have fed into the management’s narrative that she was “pushy,” a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect.
Sulzberger [the paper’s publisher] is known to believe that the Times, as a financially beleaguered newspaper, needed to retreat on some of its generous pay and pension benefits; Abramson had also been at the Times for far fewer years than Keller, having spent much of her career at the Wall Street Journal, accounting for some of the pension disparity. (I was also told by another friend of hers that the pay gap with Keller has since been closed.) But, to women at an institution that was once sued by its female employees for discriminatory practices, the question brings up ugly memories. Whether Abramson was right or wrong, both sides were left unhappy. [Update: A third associate told me, “She found out that a former deputy managing editor”—a man—“made more money than she did” while she was managing editor. “She had a lawyer make polite inquiries about the pay and pension disparities, which set them off.”]”
"Even though she thought she was politely asking about the pay discrepancy and about the role of the business side, and that she had a green light from management to hire a deputy to Baquet, the decision to terminate her was made. Sulzberger met with her last Friday, and reportedly told her that it was time to make ‘a change.’"
The New Yorker
Fun fact: Jill Abramson once admitted to having a tattoo of the “amazing ‘T’ in The New York Times newspaper” on her back.
“As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills.”
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Frozen. Gravity. Three of last year’s top 10 grossing films were led by female protagonists, making 2013 a banner year for women in film, right?
Not quite. Women accounted for less than a third of all speaking roles in the year’s 100 top-grossing domestic films. And just 15 percent of those films had women in leading roles.”
Percentage of female speaking roles same as 1940s