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Missing Perspectives Of Women In Newsrooms Is A Grim Reality: Report

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A recent report has highlighted the under-representation of women in the area of news media in six English-language countries, namely India, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. Entitled ‘The Missing Perspectives of Women in News’, the report has been commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and authored by Luba Kassova, co-founder and director of the international audience strategy consultancy AKAS. Its findings are based on four key indicators—gender diversity in the workplace and leadership, women as sources of news expertise, news stories leading with women protagonists, and coverage of gender equality issues.

The percentage of female journalists in newsrooms has remained constant since 2000 across all analysed countries.

What You Should Know: 

  • A recent report has highlighted the under-representation of women in the area of news media in six English-language countries, including India. 
  • Titled ‘The Missing Perspectives of Women in News’, the report was commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and authored by Luba Kassova. 
  • The report also mentions that gender equality issues remain grossly underreported in news. 
  • It includes remedial recommendations as well that can help improve women’s role and participation in news media

Also Read: The Coronavirus Pandemic Increased The Visibility Of Women In Media, But It’s Not All Good News

Report: Women Underrepresented In News Media

The report mentions that female representation in the sphere of news media has flatlined in the current times. Furthermore, it stipulates that despite gender parity among journalism school graduates in various countries, most journalists are men. Men also hold most leadership positions in the field of journalism. Another finding relates to the less likelihood (close to six times) of women being quoted in news as experts, protagonists, or sources. This disparity is significantly larger in news related to areas like politics and economics, where men’s share of the voice is seven and 31 times higher than that of women respectively.

The report also mentions that gender equality issues remain grossly under reported in news, with less than 1% of all new stories in the six countries focusing on the same. Notably, the organisation had previously released a concomitant special report entitled ‘The Missing Perspectives of Women in COVID-19 News’ in September 2020. The report suggested male perspectives continue to dominate all reportage related to the pandemic even though women have been disproportionately affected by it.

Remedial Recommendations

The report includes remedial recommendations as well that can help improve women’s role and participation in news media. Strategic recommendations include tracking the improvement of gender equality at the organisational resources level, crafting news stories keeping in mind women’s needs, worries, and aspirations, redressing the deep gender imbalance in coverage of political news, having definitive policies on gender image parity in news, and introducing gender equality news industry awards.

Also Read: Understanding Women’s Reportage & Women Consumer Of News

Other recommendations relate to further research in the area. These include conducting a gender analysis of staff turnover data among news media professionals, in-depth understanding of the role of digital media, and cross-cultural research into women’s representation and portrayal in news.

Tarini Gandhiok is an intern with SheThePeople.TV