Photos: Sistahood at the 2012 Women’s Media Center Awards Dinner

betty ming liu Inspiration, Money, Relationships, Writing how-to's 7 Comments

The really bad news is that women are appallingly underrepresented in the media industry. The good news? Women are doing something about it — and having a good time in the process.

The 2012 Women’s Media Center Awards was a marvelously glam networking event and here are some photos to prove it.

Held on Nov. 13 at the lovely Gustavino’s party space on E. 59th Street in Manhattan, it was a chance for me to dust off my $25 chandelier earrings from the trip to India, pull out the good cashmere dress coat and catch up on what’s doing in the world.

Individual tickets cost $450. The 10-seater tables ranged in price from $10,000 to $100,000. These  women were holding an annual fundraiser that meant business: $700,000 was raised that night for the cause.

I was the guest of my dear friends Jeannie Park and Helen Zia. Also at their table were Helen’s spouse Lia Shigemura and her sister Humane Zia. Friends included Wendy Lin, Toko Serita, Theresa Loong, Sital Patel and Maria Sandoval. It was a mix that  brought together the current and past presidents of the Asian American Journalists Association New York chapter, a judge, a lawyer, a jewelry designer, a documental filmmaker and a human resources executive.

The dinner was attended by VIP legends galore, including Barbara Walters and the sisters Laura and Lisa Ling. Lots of photos to take, the Asian thing to do! All the photos on this post were taken on my iPhone except for this next collage. The pictures are from Helen’s personal camera roll:

Anne Hathaway, the evening’s celebrity host who attended with husband and security force in tow, also seemed to be enjoying herself. At one point, she jumped up to the microphone and told everyone, “My husband said this is the ballsiest group he’s been in!”

I’ll drink to that! But seriously, after hearing the statistics, I really needed a drink (or two, or three). The reality is that even though the United States is 51 percent female, only 24 percent of the people seen, heard or interviewed by the media are female. Only 12 percent of all stories out there are about us.

When the Center monitored 84 news websites, it found that women were only news subjects in 23 percent of the stories. Things are even bad at National Public Radio, which is viewed as so progressive: Women represented only 26 percent of the news sources.

As for the “Heavy Hundred” of 2011’s most important radio talk show hosts, it includes only 13 solo female voices, plus three who are co-hosting. The infuriating list of shame goes on and on; the Center’s website has a full report.

Airing the problem in a festive, powerbroker-filled setting has motivated me to make a humble donation.  I left the event inspired to work harder and smarter as a journalist, woman and human being. Going forward, I will surely be more beautiful too, thanks to the swag bag handed out at the end…

It included a cologne stick, three bottles of anti-aging cream (I can take a hint). There was also a memo pad organizer, a mouse pad, two sleeping beauty eye masks and a Michelle Obama book filled with shots of her famous triceps.

We left that night with more momentum. So let’s hear it for girl power; 2013 can be ours. Yes.


Comments 7

  1. Hmm… In parts of NY they say that “only babies and monkeys are cute!” Your crew (posse) are all damned good looking–each and every one! And your “million dollar,” twenty-five dollar earrings make you stand out in that crowd! Go female power, go!!

    I noticed in the power shot of thirteen successful women, twelve have their high wattage smiles on and you’ve dimmed yours. Why?? You must have felt secure in letting your Indian diamond earrings do all the wattage control for you! Okay…

    I hope the meal was good! At those table prices, you should have taken home some “souvenirs!”

  2. Thanks for taking us on the town with you! Looks like a great evening. Those stats are an eye-opener. It leaves me wondering what women as citizens and as media professionals have to do to get heard.

    Heck, I want to be heard too. Seriously.

  3. Post

    Stephen, it was a very nice meal and very nice company. Can’t believe you stopped to count how many of us in that one shot. I actually do have a little smile — was distracted because I was busy taking pictures too. And thanks for the compliment to us all. I also had the impression that we looked pretty good. :)

    Skye, I was horrified to hear the stats. So, so depressing. I guess I spend most of my time trying NOT to think about it. But the only way to be heard is for us to be out there doing stuff. And whatever we do, it counts!

  4. Post

    I think we should all join. Jeannie and Helen have been talking about this group for years. But seeing the operation up close got me interested. Btw, do you know the secret to that trademark, BW look? First of all, she dresses with tremendous confidence; I don’t know too many people who can pull off a giant cream-colored shoulder bow. But the signature look has a lot to do with false eyelashes, really curly ones.

  5. Betty,
    A little too posh for my pocketbook! I think i must live in an area that is the exception. We seem to have more women newspeople than men. The weather seems dominated by women (One of whom seems to be almost constantly pregnant) At 7:00 there is a all-female news cast on channel 2. As for stories, unless it is all “fluf” most local news stories are about who gets into trouble. The fact that women stay out of trouble biases this…. but is bad thing?

  6. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your post! I was nominated for the WMC social media award, and would have gone to New York had I won, but alas, that was not the case. But I’m so glad you were able to go and thrilled to see Asian women well represented!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *