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Ask the Editor - Coronavirus and feminism at WORLD


WORLD Radio - Ask the Editor - Coronavirus and feminism at WORLD

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Friday, June 5th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Let me remind you that this weekend we’re releasing a special edition of The World and Everything in It. It’s titled: “A Community Grief.” 

You may remember that during the last week of May, we presented a four-part serial from Kim Henderson about a small southern town. It was the site of the largest mass killing in Mississippi history. 

We’ve assembled those four parts together into one stand-alone podcast. It includes additional interviews, plus coverage of last weekend’s memorial service marking the third anniversary of the killings. 

If you listen to true-crime podcasts or know someone who does, we hope you’ll have a listen to ours and then share it with your friends.

BASHAM: What an enormous project by Kim, gripping storytelling, and poignant, powerful ending. Eager to listen to the whole thing again with that additional material.

Well, up next, Marvin Olasky answers your questions.

MARVIN OLASKY, EDITOR IN CHIEF: I’d like to answer briefly two questions that readers have recently asked. 

First, how has the coronavirus affected WORLD’s editorial process? 

My answer might surprise you: Not that much. Our full-time writers, editors, designers, and producers live in different cities across the U.S., Africa, and Asia. Almost all of us work out of our homes. We’ve been structured this way for 26 years, so we could try out this slogan: “Socially isolated since 1994.” 

But in one sense that’s an exaggeration. We emphasize street-level rather than suite-level reporting. We have done less in-person reporting than usual. In coronavirus times we sometimes have to rely on others to be our eyes, ears, and noses reporting sights, sounds, and smells. Since we can’t eyeball places, we have to check and double check.

And that points to one part of our coverage that has changed: our annual Hope Awards for Effective Compassion. We planned for our reporters, Anna and Charissa, to be on the road already. But with shutdowns, that hasn’t happened. Some ministries they planned to visit are closed. Some regions are still not safe for travel. Like many of you, we’re on hold, waiting to see what warmer weather will bring.

Question two: I wrote a column entitled “The Right Feminism.” Several readers asked: What can be right about feminism? Well, equal pay for equal work is right. I do not support an emphasis on career so extreme that the message becomes: Don’t waste your time on motherhood. My wife agrees with me that avoiding motherhood is a mistake, but some women don’t realize that until it’s too late. 

Other feminists support abortion, which their 19th century counterparts opposed. Some 21st century feminists castigate companies that have a “mommy track” so women during parts of their careers can work part-time. That’s too bad: Yes, having children might put some behind in the drive for CEO status, but a corner playpen is at least as important as a corner office.

It seems to my wife and me that the right feminism provides opportunity without pressure to conform. Thinking particularly of WORLD, we have twelve female full-time reporters under 40, several of whom are married. Our style of feminism ties in with our style of working from home. We have flexible schedules. 

If any of these reporters want to work part-time so they can care more for children, we will accommodate them. The right feminism assures that women have the choice to work in ways that acknowledge the importance of family.

I’m Marvin Olasky.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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