Female perspectives, presence lacked in journalism

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When someone first walks into AA-215, home of The Advocate, it looks like a pretty friendly place.
Any given Monday or Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., class is in session and working in groups is encouraged.
People are all around engaging in issue-driven banter.
But then you might notice something — where are the women?
There’s only what, seven, and only two of us are editors, in a leadership role.
Why is journalism still such a male-dominated discipline?
Most occupational fields have always been and still are male dominated.
The list is wide-ranging encompassing business, filmmaking, science, engineering, technology and professional gaming — you name it.
Journalism is no different.
Discussions surrounding the larger topic of newsrooms and work settings have been discussed ad nauseam, but why at Contra Costa College are there only seven women in the journalism class and lab with over 20 students enrolled?
According to DataMart, the district’s information management system, there are over 1,000 more women than men that attend this college.
In just about all of my classes, there are more women than men, except my journalism classes for The Advocate.
Now, there are seven of us and I’m proud of that.
I’m glad more women joined us to bring the newsroom closer to the demographics represented on campus.
When I joined The Advocate last semester, I noticed the lack of women as well.
In most of western society, women have been taught to stay quiet, keep their head down.
“You’re prettier when you’re quiet,” may seem like a statement from the past, but it’s more relevant than many want to believe.
Society programs women from childhood to think their voices don’t hold the same value as men.
I never explicitly felt that sentiment but being a part of this group gave me a place where I felt accepted, where my voice could be heard and where I wasn’t afraid to speak my mind.
The Advocate is the exact opposite of hiding your voice and we have many slogans and sayings but one of my favorites is, “The Advocate – The Student Voice of Contra Costa College.”
I am grateful to have Cindy Pantoja as our editor-in-chief, and to have her as one of my closest friends.
I see her just about every day and she is an inspiration and example of a strong woman with an important voice.
As our EIC, she is our boss and I love that she can whip us into shape when she has to — especially the guys.
When there’s a room filled with people of the same sex and the same race, they usually come from the same backgrounds — they only have so much perspective.
However, the minute you introduce people of the opposite sex or different races and when those people speak up, the number of viewpoints increases exponentially.
The initial group has completely shifted their viewpoints and each of them is having entirely new and different experiences.
They’re learning.