Explanation

Why has it been almost 3 decades since a woman was named TIME’s Person of the Year?

Corazon Aquino, 51, widow of assassinated opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., calls on Novemer 27, 1984 for opposition unity during a rally marking the 52nd birthday of her husband. AFP PHOTO / UPI / ERIK DE CASTRO (Photo credit should read ERIK DE CASTRO/AFP/Getty Images)

Prior to Wednesday morning, the last woman to grace the cover of TIME magazine with the fabled Person of the Year distinction was Corazon Aquino, the first woman president of the Philippines. Back then, the magazine referred to the title as Woman of the Year or Man of the Year. Twenty-nine years later, the magazine broke its almost three-decades-long woman drought when it gave German Chancellor Angela Merkel the honor. In fact, only a handful of women since 1927, when Charles Lindbergh was honored with the inaugural distinction, have received the prestigious moniker. In a story that answers why there was such a long wait between Aquino and Merkel, TIME writer Radhika Jones explains that “The label of Person of the Year tends to favor people with institutional power. The choice reflects TIME’s view of who affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill. Since 1986 there’ve been four U.S. presidents in the mix — three of them two-termers, all of them men. Plus a handful of leaders of the Soviet Union (and Russia), also all men. The Pope keeps being a man. And it’s a lot easier to make news from an address like the White House, the Kremlin or the Vatican.” Jones predicted that readers likely wouldn’t have to wait another three decades for a women to be given the title, and even hinted that they might have to wait just one more year.

Read the full story at TIME.

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