As a public speaker, I’m always looking for ways to engage my audience. One old trick — which I never use, precisely because it is so old — is to challenge executives and entrepreneurs to imagine their obituary in the New York Times. What impact did you have? What contribution did you make? What kind of life did you lead?
As it turns out, this audience-participation exercise requires a special act of imagination for women. Consider this amazing statistic, brought to you by a Web site called The NYTpicker, which pokes, prods, and otherwise critiques the world’s greatest newspaper. For the month of August, the New York Times ran 78 obituaries, but only six were of women. For 2010 as a whole, the Times has published 698 obituaries — and only 92 were of women.
What’s going on here? The question is especially vexing since the percentage of women in the paper’s 2010 obituaries is virtually identical to the percentage of women chronicled in Times obituaries back in 1990. “Are the world’s prominent women — the ones deserving of NYT obituaries — simply living forever?” the NYTpicker wonders. “In the last two decades, has there been zero growth in the number of notable women who’ve died? Does it stand to reason that no more women have worked their way into the limelight in the last twenty years than in the previous twenty?”
It’s always fun to challenge a powerful institution like the New York Times — especially when it is (ahem) dead wrong. Sigue leyendo