What a fascinating time to be a leader who is a woman! (Note to the male bureau chief who once called me into his office to tell me that using an exclamation point is "too feminine." No, it isn't.)
Women are still far from achieving leadership parity in most fields, but some of the obstacles--the various manifestations of sexism that have kept that from happening--are at last being exposed and taken seriously (at least for now). The resulting societal tumult, even though it's been ugly at times, has also been empowering. A weight is being lifted, one that women have been carrying for a long time, one accepted by society and by ourselves as the price of working in a man's world.
Misogyny has deeply shaped me, and nearly stifled me. From growing up in a Jewish world where boys were golden, to pursuing an academic and journalism career rife with outright gender discrimination, to taking over the old boys' club that was Moment in 2004, I found that men around me too often treated me as if I were a child or their lover. One prominent Jewish philanthropist even brazenly offered to fund Moment if I took a bath with him, a deal I am sure he never tried to strike with my predecessors--Leonard Fein, Elie Wiesel and Hershel Shanks. Fortunately, there were also many fantastic men--and women--along the way, who gave generously and selflessly of their time and resources, and I am deeply grateful.
Unlike the majority of serious publications today, Jewish or not, Moment is proudly women-led. This is smart business. Editorially, we inject critical ingredients into the discourse: We embrace intelligent thinking without shouting down differences in opinion. We promote civility by not trading in anger and grudges. Most of all, we eschew arrogance. Arrogance is one of my least favorite human traits and one of the things most wrong with the world. This includes sexual arrogance, the assumption held by some men that because they are powerful, they can do whatever they want.
Every day we are reminded of the perils of arrogant leadership. From the president of the United States to CEOs in media, business and other fields, arrogance has led to a breakdown of civility, increased polarization and an inability to act on behalf of the public good. It has also facilitated the culture of sexual harassment and bias that has blocked so many women from positions of power and ensured that the national narrative remains predominantly masculine.
Women bring special qualities to...