Media Leadership Excludes Women Of Colour: Report's Shocking Facts

The report titled 'From Outrage to Opportunity' revealed some shocking facts about how women of colour have often been excluded from even being considered for top leadership positions in news media.

Bhana Bisht
New Update
Women Of Colour Exclusion In Media
An in-depth analysis of newsrooms’ culture in six countries including India, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom revealed how a biased system has led to the exclusion of women, especially women of colour, in top leadership positions in professional media.

The report titled 'From Outrage to Opportunity' revealed some shocking facts about how women of colour have often been excluded from even being considered for top leadership positions in news media.

Suggested reading: Journalist Palki Sharma Talks About Sexism In Newsroom

Women of colour exclusion in media

The report, From Outrage to Opportunity:  How to Include the Missing Perspectives of Women of All Colours in News Leadership and Coverage, was commissioned by  AKAS consulting and was backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The study is authored by Luba Kassova, a researcher and award-winning evidence-based storyteller. Kassova studies the brutal realities that women of colour face in news coverage and media leadership in countries like India, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, the US, and the UK. The findings indicate that women of colour are underrepresented in top editorial job roles and are suffering from what can be termed a culture of exclusion. Women of colour, the report mentions, have been passed on for top jobs despite being highly cable and top contenders.


The analysis examined how for every woman who held the position of editor-in-chief, there were at least two or even twelve men at the same level of position, indicating the huge gender gap at the leadership level. What's shocking is that racially diverse countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and South Africa had greater underrepresentation and bias. In the United Kingdom alone, about thirty-seven per cent of the media organisations that were surveyed had a woman editor-in-chief, and only one per cent of the companies had a woman of colour in the top position.

Women of colour more marginalised in news leadership in the UK than in other countries

Kassova made a statement suggesting these countries treat this as a matter of urgency and act on it by making necessary changes. "This particular report was by far the most unsettling, upsetting and significant of all reports that must be acted upon immediately," she said. Adding how women of colour have faced distinctive hurdles in their respective newsrooms, Kassova pointed out that the United Kingdom holds a major record of excluding women even in top positions in the news departments of health, politics and foreign affairs.

Women in general more marginalised in Indian newsrooms than in other countries

The report explained that women in India, regardless of caste or culture, have mostly been excluded at a higher rate than in other countries. The shocking number disclosed that for every woman editor in chef, ten men are holding the same position. For every woman serving as a business editor, there are seven, and for everyone one woman operating a political editorship level, five men are serving in the same level of position.

The report surfaced how interviewees in most countries believed maternity to be the major barrier a reason for media companies excluding them and keeping them at bay from top positions. The interviewees shared that they have often been neglected because of their choice of motherhood and that has caused a hindrance to their career advancement. An interviewee revealed how her female colleague was once told by a male editor that while she possessed great journalistic credentials, she must make sure to leave her "womb at the door."

Kassova colluded that while there was no one particular framework that could bring about change, a real effort through extensive research, audits and a deeper look into the internal functioning of every organisation can contribute to a conversation and a directive for change.

women in media women in media leadership