Women See Modest Gains in World News Media Portrayal, Coverage Still Betrays Significant Gender Bias

Gender bias in Internet news is similar and in some respects even more intense than that found in the traditional news media.

Gender bias in Internet news is similar and in some respects even more intense than that found in the traditional news media.

Women are still significantly underrepresented and misrepresented in news media coverage, according to Global Media Monitoring Project research in 108 countries coordinated by the World Association for Christian Communication, despite significant change since the project began 15 years ago.

76% of the people heard or read about in the world’s news are male. The world seen in news media remains largely a male one.

The GMMP monitored 1,365 newspapers, television and radio stations and Internet news sites, 17,795 news stories and 38,253 persons in the news in 108 countries with 82% of the world’s people.

The report Who Makes the News? The Global Media Monitoring Project 2010 was released today in Arabic, English, French and Spanish, along with numerous regional and national reports.

  • 24% of people in the news are female, compared to 17% in 1995. 44% of persons providing popular opinion in news stories are female compared to 34% in 2005.
  • News media show significant gender bias with 46% of news stories reinforcing gender stereotypes.
  • 13% of news stories focus centrally on women.
  • Expert commentary is overwhelmingly male with only one female in every five experts.
  • The age of women in the news is mentioned twice as often and family status almost four times as often as for men.

Today female reporters are responsible for 37% of stories compared to 28% fifteen years ago, and their stories challenge gender stereotypes twice as often as stories by male reporters.

The 2010 report contains a plan of action for media professionals and others committed to gender-ethical news media.

The GMMP is the largest and longest running research and advocacy initiative on fair and balanced gender representation in the news media. It is coordinated by WACC, a global network of communicators promoting communication for social change, in collaboration with data analyst Media Monitoring Africa, and with support from the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

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