Thursday Miscellany

Let's start with the Eeyore.

Yesterday I wrote that women don't count—at least, not to the news media. Right after I posted that, I learned that Katha Pollitt wrote about the same recurring problem last year, brilliantly, of course. One of her key points: if you want more women writers, you need more women editors. Do read her piece. It's depressingly relevant and, of course, funny: 

I've written so often about the dearth of women in high-end magazines, including my own home base, The Nation, over so many years, and to so little effect, that sometimes I see myself, sitting at the kitchen table in some year like 2050, enjoying a nice bowl of reconfigurated vitamin-infused plastic bags, and over my phlogistatron will come the headline "Study Shows Men Write 85 Percent of Articles in Interplanetary Media. Martian Weekly Editor in Chief: Where Are the Women?"

Who's winning the economy—men or women? Bryce Covert wrote an important piece for The Nation about the myth of "the mancession" and of the idea that, in the world of work, men are doomed while women will dominate the future. Ha! Unfortunately, the feminized economic areas that are growing—like retail workers, home healthcare aides, or other service industry workers—are low-paying, physically exhausting, and sometimes dangerous. As Covert sums it up: 

But anyone who declares that women have “won” the new economy is premature at best. Women may be over-represented in growing sectors, but those jobs pay poorly, offer few benefits, come with grudging work and provide little opportunity for advancement. The edge on wages experienced by young women evaporates as they progress in their careers. When women do get to middle management, they’re paid less than men and they struggle to advance much further up the ladder. And women with children are left far behind.

Or as Katha Pollitt put it wittily a year ago, 

Don't worry, gentlemen. "The End of Men," Hanna Rosin's much discussed Atlantic cover story, isn't really about the end of men. It's about men's declining economic ability to dominate women and various sociocultural consequences of that fact—but who'd read a piece with an unsensational message like that? 

But enough of my gloomy side. Here's some Tigger:

Vietnam is prosecuting adoption traffickers. International adoption from Vietnam was, for some years, notoriously shot through with fraud and corruption, as I outlined in an article on the Foreign Policy website a little more than a year ago, with backup information posted here at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. Although Vietnam has formally signed on to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, the U.S. State Department hasn't yet reopened adoption from the country, suggesting that it believes the welfare of Vietnamese families might still come second to the profits of orphanage directors. So here's some meaningful news: Vietnam has put a former nurse on trial for running a baby trafficking ring, selling some children for profit. That's an excellent step. 

​California likes same-sex marriage. The latest Field Poll shows that 59 percent of California voters now support same-sex marriage, and only 34 percent oppose it. That's just an astonishing figure only four years after the state passed Proposition 8 by 52 to 48 percent, in a knee-jerk response to the state's supreme court decision that recognized same-sex marriages. And it's an astonishing figure in a state that has the largest Mormon population outside Utah, of more than 760,000, and that is nearly 40 percent Catholic, many of them Latino immigrants. I'm a little wary of polling on the issue—at the ballot box, LGBT issues tend to do about 2 or 3 percent less well than they do in opinion polls—but 59 percent is a big margin. No matter what happens with Perry, the next time marriage equality gets a vote in that state, wedding bells are going to ring. 

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