New study: Women hold less than one-third of top news media jobs

A new global study released in March revealed that women currently hold 27 percent of top management jobs and 26 percent of governing jobs in the news media.

"The Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media"

The Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media” was put together by the International Women’s Media Foundation. It was released March 23 at the foundation’s International Women Media Leader’s Conference. The extensive study looked at roughly 170,000 people in more than 500 companies and nearly 60 countries.

The report is a 396-page PDF document available in full online. It provides breakdowns from seven geographical regions as well as findings from individual nations.

This first-time study was conducted over a two-year period with an aim to provide detailed data on gender positions in new organizations worldwide.

The study looked at information on occupational standings, salaries, terms of employment and a variety of other issues that affect gender status. The study looked only at traditional media including newspapers, television and radio stations, with newspapers making up almost half of the sample.

The study’s key finding was that 73 percent of the top management jobs were occupied by men, compared to women at 27 percent. Twenty out of 59 nations studied had identifiable “glass ceilings” for women in middle and upper management.

The report points out in the executive summary that a 1995 study by Margaret Gallagher showed women in only 12 percent of the management positions in 239 nations.

In positions that actually produce the news, the study found that women hold 36 percent of reporter jobs, or positions at the “junior professional level.” Interestingly the senior professional level, which includes anchors, senior writers and producers, has more parity with women in 41 percent of positions.

Those findings match other studies that have looked simply at bylines. “Who Makes the News? Global Media Monitoring Project 2010” also found similar results when it looked at authorship of articles culled on a given day in 2009. Overall, 37 percent of stories in the whole sample were reported by women.

A closer look at the United States

In the summary of the findings from the United States, the report shows that across the news media women make up 41 percent of the total work force. The study included 14 U.S. news companies, 10 of which were newspapers. They in total employed approximately 3,000 people.

In the U.S. portion of the study, women made up 23.3 percent of those in top-level management and 35.3 percent of those in governance. The study shows women at near parity with men at the junior professional level, or reporter positions, at 47.2 percent but not as close at the senior professional level at 35.7 percent.

It also identified a “glass ceiling” for women in U.S. newsrooms once they reach the senior management level. After that their presence drops from 41.5 percent to the 23.3 percent at the top-level management.

Coverage in the news

A number of news and industry sources picked up on the survey and reported and commented on it. Here are a few:

For more studies and resources on gender in the news media, view our “Useful Resources” page.

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