Magazine Cancels All-Male ‘Women’s Empowerment’ Panel After Criticism

By Rob Tornoe

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The criticism was widespread, with actress Alyssa Milano and comedian Aparna Nancherla among those throwing shade at the magazine’s decision to have four men discuss female empowerment.

SJ Magazine, a Maple Shade-based publication owned by women, has canceled an upcoming event on “women empowerment” following an online backlash over the panel’s all-male makeup.

“As a women-owned business, women’s empowerment has always been part of our mission statement,” the magazine said in canceling the event. “We believe it is helpful when everyone is part of the conversation on women’s empowerment and feminism.”

The panel, titled “Women in Business: A man’s point of view,” was scheduled to take place on Nov 6. and feature ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, Rowan University President Dr. Ali Houshmand, Virtua President and CEO Richard Miller and N.J. State Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D., Camden/Burlington).

“I’m still trying to wrap my head around how anyone could possibly think this up,” wrote Politico New Jersey bureau chief Ryan Hutchins. Greenwald announced he was pulling out of the event before the magazine canceled it.

“I was asked to participate on a panel for an issue I care deeply about. As a son watching my mother break the glass ceiling in politics and as a father of 2 daughters, I have a passion for the pursuit of equality,” Greenwald tweeted Monday night. “In light of a full understanding of the composition of this panel, I will be withdrawing from participating and offering my seat instead to someone who can bring a more diverse and inclusive point of view to this critical issue.”

The criticism of the event, which was first promoted on twitter by SJ Magazine on Monday, was swift and intense, especially after the magazine insisted “no mansplaining allowed” in a subsequent tweet.

“Because the man’s point of view is so rarely voiced?” tweeted Karen Kessler, a prominent crisis manager based in Warren, N.J.

The criticism was widespread, with actress Alyssia Milano and comedian Aparna Nancherla among those throwing shade at the magazine’s decision to have four men discuss female empowerment.

SJ Magazine publisher and editor-in-chief Marianne Aleardi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The event was scheduled to be SJ Magazine’s third in a four-part series on women’s empowerment.

An event scheduled for December 4 titled “Success Stories: Taking charge without wearing a suit and tie” features an all-female panel with TV health expert Jennifer Caudle, Cooper University Health Care senior vice president Terry Ricca, Samaritan Healthcare & hospice president and CEO Mary Ann Boccolini and Helaina Semmler, section chief of general radiology at South Jersey Radiology Associates.

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