At the lectern, how far have we come?
January 09, 2019
After 85 years, why does Vital Speeches still publish the remarks of more men than women? And what can you do about it?
Recently I was asked why Vital Speeches publishes fewer speeches by women in our pages, than by men. It was a good question.
Vital Speeches has never actually been as objective as it aims and as it claims—just as few people are as rational as they fancy themselves. Nor have the editors been omniscient. For instance, a keyword search of Vital Speeches archives (which can be done at most local libraries) reveals not a single speech by Martin Luther King. Oooooooooops!
Did the editors, through their horn-rimmed glasses, see King’s ideas as too radical? Or were there too just many important policy speeches by the presidents of banks and steel companies the month King hollered somewhat repetitively about his “dream,” at some picnic in Washington.
It’s too late to ask the long-dead men who edited Vital Speeches back then. Just as it will be too late to ask long-dead me, six decades from now, why there were still so many speeches by men in the era of #leanin and #metoo. Scholars will have to speculate.
In case they find this …