Publishing Pseudonyms: A Product of Fear?

After reading several articles by Nicholas Kristof, Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, I stumbled across one that really piqued my interest about publishing and gender equality. Kristof wrote an article stating how only 25 percent of online comments for The Times are made by women.

He noted that female authors still publish under male pseudonyms for fear of being ignored, especially if the topic falls under science or math. Sometimes, women will only use their initials to avoid gender as well. Kristof noted that the same goes for the opinion pages of The Times. So, why is it that women feel the need to lie in order to get published? Kristof states that women are 25 times more likely to be harassed for their comments than men. He also says there is a startling lack of female reporters for online newspapers, making women feel less comfortable putting their opinion out there.

Kristof has made a name in the publishing world for having very opinionated views on hot-button issues. While it may be easier for him to do this since he is male, he still encourages women to do the same. “Don’t worry too much about what others will think. Showing support for a survivor of sexual assault makes it more likely they will continue to tell their story. This is worth the risk of seeming aggressive,” he states. In a perfect world, women would be able to voice their opinions in the same way as men without fear of criticism solely due to gender. This trend Kristof noticed will hopefully subside in the future.


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