NYT’s Rachel Dry on Women’s Equality, Voting & Dealing with the Stress of 2020

By Mia Ingui

Rachel DryExperienced journalist and stand-up comedian Rachel Dry boasts a long résumé, from NPR to The Washington Post to director at a theater camp. Now, she brings her bold insight on gender and politics to The New York Times as the Deputy Politics Editor for Enterprise, where she works on the coverage of the 2020 election and so much more. In episode 40 of Coffee Break w/ NYWICI, Rachel speaks about the monumental 2020 election, as well as the past 100 years of women’s suffrage, and voting. Here are some highlights from her conversation with host Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich.


How We Talk About Gender in Politics

This year marks the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote — and it also holds a crucial election. Rachel told us she was thrilled to see so many women running for president this time around, and wanted to cover their diversity in background and policies. But she made sure to tread carefully: “When you start talking about women, it feels like you’re talking about a special category of people. Like, men are people, and women are women,” she says. “When in fact, women are the majority of American voters. The election will be decided by women, in specifically key battleground states.”

Yet many women still don’t think our country will vote for a female president. That’s why representation is not the end, as it can be superficial and performative, Rachel says. We have a way to go in terms of paid parental leave, equal pay, healthcare and harassment protection on college campuses and beyond.

What She Does to Handle the Stress

Though her job is difficult, Rachel has the privilege of answering the questions of readers and bringing the knowledge of talented colleagues to stories in her section. If — and when — the news gets overwhelming, she tries to use her judgment to decide the most effective way to present it to readers. “My job is to take overload and anxiety and process it in a way that feels productive,” she says. Pro tip: She’s also found sound baths and guided meditations have been useful tools for dealing with the stress of 2020.

Her Unique Work at The New York Times

Ever wonder what the newspaper term “enterprise” actually means? Rachel breaks it down in-depth on the podcast, but essentially, the enterprise section aims to present politics in a way that focuses less on breaking news, and more heavily on context, background and long standing issues. “It comes to stand for the stories that we’re doing because we think they’re important, not necessarily the stories that are the obvious news developments of the day that most news organizations want to cover,” Rachel explains. One recent example: An article Rachel worked on over the summer about two scholars who predicted the crisis of 2020 in 1991. It may not be breaking news, she says, “but we hope it provides some context to think about the world as it’s unfolding.”

Thank you to Rachel Dry for being a guest on Coffee Break w/ NYWICI. You can listen to all episodes here.

Mia Ingui
Freelance Writer

Mia Ingui is an editorial assistant at MyDomaine. She is also a journalist and content strategist located in the NYC Metropolitan area and graduated from The College of New Jersey's Journalism and Professional Writing program. Mia is a freelance writer and contributor to Her Campus Media, NJ Advance Media and other publications.

Previously, Mia was an editor for The College of New Jersey's award-winning newspaper, The Signal, an editorial intern at Unique Homes Magazine in Princeton, NJ, and acted as Editor-in-Chief and President of TCNJ's chapter of Her Campus Media, the #1 national online magazine for college women.


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