The Missing Perspectives of Women in News
"The Missing Perspectives of Women in News" is the second report, which is being launched following the success of the “The Missing Perspectives of Women in COVID-19 News” which, by the end of November had been written about in 90 news articles from approximately 70 countries globally.
This report takes a longer term and more holistic view of the under-representation of women along the whole news value chain (starting from resources in newsrooms and news leadership, followed by newsgathering, news coverage, news consumption and news impact. While the first report was focusing on the COVID-19 story, this one focuses on news in its entirety. It was commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to examine women’s representation in newsrooms, newsgathering, and news coverage in India, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, the UK, and the US. It is rooted in a literature review of 2,286 articles and three case studies anchored in behavioural science; innovative content analysis of 11,913 publications and 56.9 million stories; analysis of 74 primary surveys; analyses of Google Trends and multi-country surveys; gender-related indices; and reports undertaken by key journalistic and international organizations. These sources were used to fill the large data gaps found in measuring gender equality in the news.
The report reveals a dire picture of women’s underrepresentation in the news. It shows that women’s representation in the news has flatlined (if not reversed) in the 21st century and that women are marginalized in governance/leadership roles in news organizations. In the six analyzed countries, less than 1% of news stories cover gender equality issues. In 2019, women’s share of protagonists or of quoted experts/sources in the news was between 14% and 30% in the six countries. Patriarchal norms are at the heart of the existing invisible barriers for women in news. These norms inhibit the impact of gender equality legislation in news organizations; enable the continuing dominance of men’s perspectives in news-making; amplify these perspectives through men’s news consumption; and limit women’s presence in news stories as news protagonists and experts, with the result that gender parity remains constantly out of reach. However, encouragingly, news providers can use many levers for change set out in this report’s 50 recommendations anchored in behavioral science and in the news providers’ gender parity checklist."
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