SMLR’S Op-ed Training Helps Women Tell Their Story

Preparing women to write op-eds that build a new narrative about women and work was the goal of Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR)’s Women’s Media Training sessions held at the Rutgers University Inn and Conference Center on February 24—25, 2016. The event drew approximately 50 women faculty, union leaders, rank-and-file members, and community-based leaders from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. The women learned how to use their personal stories to reshape the media’s portrayal of women and work. 

“Creating your own narrative using your experience and what you know about women and work is a powerful way to counter the prevailing narrative out there in the media,” says Gail Cooper, vice president for programs at Re:Gender, who led the group’s discussion on issues related to gender assumptions in policy, culture and society. 
 
Terri Boyer, director of the Center for Women and Work, addressed the status of working women, including the complex factors that impact the wage gap. She says, “In the media, a different story is being told which perpetuates limited career options for women and a lack of diversity.”
 
Several trainers assisted attendees with writing op-eds and pitching them to the media. Trainers included Terri Boyer, director of the Center for Women and Work; Patricia Campos-Medina, co-director of the New York State/AFL-CIO Union Leadership Institute; Gail Cooper, vice president for programs at Re:Gender; Bailey Dick from Jobs With Justice; Paola Maynard-Moll from the Scholars Strategy Network; Shira Rascoe from the Scholars Strategy Network; Marilyn Sneiderman, director of the Center for Innovation in Worker Organization; Marjorie Wood, senior program and communications advisor at the Center for Innovation in Worker Organization; and Marzena Zukowska from the National Domestic Workers Alliance. 
 
“Unfortunately, working women’s experiences are underrepresented by the media,” says Sneiderman. “This event not only pulls together an impressive group of women, but it also allows them to discover ways to capture and share their authentic experiences with the public.” 
 
The two-day conference was organized jointly by SMLR’s Center for Innovation in Worker Organization and Center for Women and Work and conducted in collaboration with Jobs with Justice and the Scholars Strategy Network. Funding was provided by the AFL-CIO, Berger Marks Foundation, and the Jobs with Justice Education Fund.
 
The training participants successfully placed the following op-eds in various media outlets:

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The Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations’ Center for Innovation in Worker Organization (CIWO) addresses our nation’s rising economic inequality, precarious workforce, and racial inequality by developing innovative research, strategies and programs. Through our work, we aim to strengthen the role of civil institutions including community organizations, worker centers, and labor unions.

Rutgers Center for Women and Work addresses women's advancement in the workplace; conducts cutting-edge research on successful public and workplace policies; and provides technical assistance and programs to educators, industry, and governments. Engages issues that directly affect the living standards of New Jersey's and the nation's working families.