SJ Magazine organized a panel on women's empowerment without including women but has since canceled the event due to the negative public backlash.
Ironically enough, SJ Magazine is owned by women, but their intentions behind booking an all-male panel for their event were not well-received.
“As a women-owned business, women’s empowerment has always been part of our mission statement,” the magazine said in canceling the event. “We believe it is helpful when everyone is part of the conversation on women’s empowerment and feminism.”
The panel was titled, “Women in Business: A Man’s Point of View,” and was scheduled for Nov. 6 featuring ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, Rowan University President Dr. Ali Houshmand, Virtua President and CEO Richard Miller and N.J. State Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington), according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Prior to canceling the event, SJ Magazine addressed concerns on Twitter, noting that this was just one of four planned panels and the others were made up of all women.
This is one of 4 panels (the others are all women). Men have a responsibility to step up & support women & we want to start the discussion.— SJ Magazine (@Justsaysj) October 23, 2017
However, even Greenwald — one of the panelists — pulled out of the event upon realizing how off-putting it was.
“I was asked to participate on a panel for an issue I care deeply about. As a son watching my mother break the glass ceiling in politics and as a father of 2 daughters, I have a passion for the pursuit of equality,” Greenwald tweeted Monday night. “In light of a full understanding of the composition of this panel, I will be withdrawing from participating and offering my seat instead to someone who can bring a more diverse and inclusive point of view to this critical issue.”
While SJ Magazine is correct in its assertion that men “have a responsibility to step up & support women,” the publication missed the mark with its decision to exclude women, entirely, from the conversation in this particular panel.
FIRST QUESTION: has anyone ever actually seen one of these mythical women business creatures pic.twitter.com/pNXAAF4Py5— Aparna Nancherla (@aparnapkin) October 24, 2017
This is real..... pic.twitter.com/HVYH3FDyxd— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 23, 2017
Women make 75 cents on the dollar so I guess getting 75% of the panels about women's empowerment & hearing from men about WOMEN'S experience in business is par for the course.— Holli (@sheppers68) October 23, 2017
Men have a responsibility to step back and listen to the experiences of their women colleagues. Their "perspective" on us isn't needed.— Catherine McParland (@Cat_McParland) October 23, 2017
Do you understand that a group of men talking about women as if their opinion isn't relevant is WHY THIS PROBLEM EXISTS in the first place?— I Just Can't (@heroesweseek) October 23, 2017
Women should never be taken out of the equation, but rather be asked to come together with men to dissect these complex and sensitive matters because no one can speak to the experience of being a woman better than women themselves.
Furthermore, the older, white male perspective dominates just about every subject, so there’s really no need to dedicate an entire platform to highlight that voice.
It should be noted that SJ Magazine has held an all-male panel in the past, which would explain why they didn’t think twice about doing it again. Last November, the magazine reportedly invited four men to discuss sexism, promoting equality at workplaces, and what happens when women cry at work.
While the male point of view may be valuable and necessary along the pursuit of gender equality, excluding women or any marginalized group from a conversation that directly impacts them is downright insulting and tone-deaf.
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