Nominate your favorite cause for BlogHers Act
My friends Cooper and Emily from Been There are helping launch a new BlogHer initiative: BlogHers Act. The goal is to identify one signgle global cause that the 11,000+ bloggers in this community could impact by working on it collectively for a year. You can nominate an issue by blogging about it yourself. Just tag your post with "BlogHers Act" and they will find you. Or, if you leave a comment on this post nominating an issue or project, your idea will be counted as well. Write quickly because the deadline for suggestions is this Friday, June 15.
A second aspect of this project is to identify the top four issues that women online want the Presidential candidates to address in order to win our votes in the '08 election. This is also a very worthy goal but I am going to focus on the "making a difference on a single global cause" initative.
I am involved with a number of causes, so I had to think about what could capture the imagination and interest of the entire BlogHer community. One of my themes as Mojo Mom is to help women discover their strong and opinionated voices, and this seems like a natural fit for BlogHer.
To that end I would like to nominate Catherine Orenstein's "Op-Ed Project"as the yearlong rallying point for the BlogHer community. Catherine (aka Katie) makes a compelling case for more diversity on the op-ed page. Noting that between 65 and 75% of unsolicited op-eds come from men, Katie has created training that teaches her students exactly how to pitch and write a successful op-ed. She trains men as well as women, but many of her classes are offered through the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, which teaches women the skills they need to claim a place in the the public spotlight.
I was blown away by my recent experience taking Katie's day-long seminar. Even strong and accomplished women may have never thought of publishing an opinion piece before. Feminine socialization is a factor. "Nice girls" don't make a fuss, and even powerful women can have difficulty claiming their authority. Katie teachers her students how to push beyond that feeling so that we get our ideas out there. When she asks students "What are you an expert in?" she has never met a man who says he isn't an expert in anything, but women regularly answer this way.
You may be thinking that we already have an outlet through blogs, why do we need to submit op-eds for publication? Katie encouraged us to think about the audience we could reach through large publications: influential decision-makers who are unlikely to find the Mojo Mom blog would read me if I were in The New York Times. I would like us to spend a year using the writing skills we have developed to make a concerted effort to create new pieces for visible placements, and tracking the results of our participants.
What cause would you like to see the BlogHer community take on? Post your comments here to nominate your best ideas!