Surprise! The Number of Women in U.S. Media Is Still Pretty Low


On Thursday, the Women’s Media Center released its annual Status of Women in U.S. Media report and the results are pretty depressing.

Of the newsrooms who responded (which was a record low—17% of 1,700 publications surveyed) women represented only 41.7 percent employees—though women continue to outnumber men in college and university level journalism programs. People of color, regardless of gender, represented 22.6 percent.

This isn’t specific to a certain kind of news, like political news. Men dominate in all fields of the industry: digital and print news platforms, film, television, radio, technology, literature, culture and entertainment news, sports news, so on and so forth.

Most inadequate are wire services like Reuters and AP: the Women’s Media Center found that 69 percent of those bylines went to men, leaving women’s contributions at a dismal 31 percent. Those outlets are followed closely by TV prime-time news broadcasts, where men anchors and correspondents make up 63 percent of the population, and only 33 percent of those roles are held by women. In digital news: 60 percent of content is written by men and 40 percent by women. In print: 59 percent of journalists are men, 41 percent are women.

Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, put it best in the study’s forward:

“The media is in a state of great disruption, but despite all of the change, one thing remains the same: the role of women is significantly smaller than that of men in every part of news, entertainment and digital media.
Fewer opportunities and promotions for women translate into fewer women reporting the news than men; fewer women creating films and television than men; fewer women driving technology, gaming and innovation. Even artificial intelligence has a gender and racial bias when its machine learning is based on language and structures dominated by men.
Media tells our society (and our young people) what is important and who matters. The data in this report paints a stark picture.”

Here is a not-at-all distressing graphic that highlights a binary gender breakdown in some of the biggest polled publications:

Read the rest of the report here and, uh, try to have a decent weekend?

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