NOW, IN SPECIAL FEMALE-FREE VARIETIES….While I still think there’s plenty to be done on the socialization side, I agree with Katha that our time here is probably best spent figuring out short-term solutions for women at the top of the spectrum (i.e., those who are already interested in opinion journalism, but find it tough to break in/succeed.) We’ll be back later today with some specific suggestions about that (particularly for our male colleagues.)

Meanwhile, I’d like to broaden the topic somewhat to the issue of women in politics generally. Garance and I were both at a dinner last night that was convened with the intention of gathering some of the most interesting minds on the left to talk about policy and politics. Of the twenty-three people around the table, three of us were women, and it would have been two except that my boss is out of town and I was allowed to attend in his stead. I’m not implying that women were excluded from this discussion–and you can be sure that Garance and I did our fair share of talking–but it’s curious to me that women are either not in the high ranks of politics and journalism, or they are not thought of as occupying the position of “person you should listen to.” (Apologies, Mom, for ending with a preposition.)

When I researched an article on the Democratic consulting world, I found that very few Democratic consultants anywhere, much less the heavy hitters in D.C., are women. The same was true of the press sections at both political conventions last summer–at least 75 percent, if not more, of the political journalists there were men. Is this systematic discrimination? Is is really women being less interested in politics as it is currently practiced? Is it socialization? A combination? I’m curious.

Amy Sullivan

Amy Sullivan is a Chicago-based journalist who has written about religion, politics, and culture as a senior editor for Time, National Journal, and Yahoo. She was an editor at the Washington Monthly from 2004 to 2006.