Understanding the Women’s Page

Associate Professor & Journalism Area Coordinator Dr. Kimberly Voss was recently featured as an expert source in a Columbia Journalism Review article about women in journalism.

Below is an excerpt from the piece.

The question comes up again and again, as women’s projects and concerns that have little to do with fashion nevertheless turn up in the Style pages. To answer it, we have to go back in time a bit and follow the history of the Style section—back to its origins in the “Women’s Page.”

“They were women talking to women, making issues relevant so that women were encouraged to speak out about them,” says Kimberly Voss, associate professor of journalism at the University of Central Florida. Voss maintains a blog devoted to Women’s Page history, which she describes as a “public history” project, a way to correct the idea that women’s pages were simply fluff.

“They were doing good journalism, they were just wearing hats and white gloves because that’s what society required of them,” Voss continues. “It was really quite revolutionary. They found a way to play by the rules and get things done.”

Yet the growing feminist movement felt that women’s issues were as important as the stories on newspapers’ front pages. Gloria Steinem famously complained when she was profiled by a women’s page editor—though Voss notes that two years after Steinem spoke out against the women’s page, she admitted that she had been wrong, that there was a place for women’s pages.

To read the full article, click here.

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