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Charlotte Talks

No One Woman Now Has Burden Of Speaking Up, Says NYT Gender Editor

Sharon Attia
Jessica Bennett is the gender editor of The New York Times.

A second round of women’s marches is taking place in Charlotte and throughout the country this weekend. The #MeToo movement, formed to call out sexual misconduct, is adding to the momentum. The New York Times recently hired a gender editor to help guide coverage of this ongoing story.  

Jessica Bennet spoke with WFAE’s Mike Collins on Charlotte Talks Wednesday.

On the #MeToo movement:

“I think it’s a combination of where we are in this moment in time politically. I think it’s a combination of the way the women’s marches did galvanize women. I think it’s a product of social media, being able to elevate these voices and elevate voices that didn’t traditionally have access to main stream media. I think it’s exploded from there with a lot of historical forces playing into it.”

On the impact of social media:

“What’s changed now is that no one woman feels like they have to bear the burden of speaking up. There’s this army of women behind them and an equally extensive army using a hash tag on the internet.”

On punishments regarding accusations of sexual misconduct:

“There’s a shift in the conversation happening right now, really looking at the nuances of does the punishment fit the crime and in some cases not crime, accusations. I’m happy to see we’re having a more robust conversation about that because it’s incredibly important. And if you care about women being comfortable speaking up and change happening, we have to have due process. That’s simply a tenant of what we stand for in this country. I think that people are having that conversation. I was just speaking with a legal scholar who was telling me that in some academic circles there’s conversation about should there be a new term created. We have manslaughter in the legal world when dealing with death. Should we have…maybe rape-slaughter, isn’t the right word, it sounds crass. Should we have some sort-of term that applies to some of these accusations that don’t amount to sexual assault in the eyes of the law.”