Not surprisingly, given this being such a high level position, it drew lots of attention.And again not surprisingly, questions have been raised about whether or not this has anything to do with Abramson being a woman, and how her tenure as Executive Editor, leadership style and even her dismissal may have been interpreted/misinterpreted in light of her gender.
I will never say that giving consideration to the possibility that her being a woman unfairly set Abramson up for different judgement than her male counterparts because we all know that possibility exists, everyday, for women everywhere. What I will say is this: let's not jump to that as the first thing.
It is a difficult balance to take into account known issues surrounding discrimination of any type(which can be quite subtle) and not making them the centerpiece of an honest assessment of a situation. Further complicating matters is the simple fact that there is no one "truth". There are versions of truth as seen through the eyes of all involved, and then further changed in the way they are communicated to others, who can in turn alter the perception of said truths. For instance decisions can be seen as either daring/forward thinking or foolhardy/risky depending on how they are communicated and who is listening to the information being shared.
Like many people, I will stay tuned to find out what is discovered about the circumstances of Abramson's dismissal. I would like to know why the decision was made and in such a seemingly hasty fashion. But unlike some, I am not going to first assume this has to do with her being a woman.Instead I will first assume it had to do with the actual job done. Maybe I am wrong, totally wrong. But for me, I don't first assume an issue/failure/misinterpretation has to do with something I can't control. Instead I think it IS something I have control over and can change, so I set out to do so. If all my efforts fail or somehow don't turn out the way I suspect, then I look at those issues outside my control.
Despite what some may say, most women I know WANT it all to be about the work.They don't want their gender being an issue at all, negatively or positively affecting the way their work is viewed. It's fine saying, "the first female executive editor" and marking that with an acknowledgement, but then let's move on and make it about the work, please. We want neither excessive accolades neither excuses being attributed to our gender.
There has to be a balance between scapegoating our gender and ignoring the fact that societal biases exist. The day we find that balance and truly make it about the work will be a great one indeed.