Editor’s note: Six months ago, we set out to look at how women are represented in online news both as sources and as authors. To mark our progress, this week we’re reviewing our findings as well as unveiling new statistics based on what we’ve uncovered thus far in a series of posts. View other six-month coverage here.
Women had more than 40 percent of bylines in the sixth month of stories we monitored in our weekly Gender Checks. Females also rebounded from our lowest showing of 19.5 percent of sources in the fifth month.
Since this marks our sixth month of our Gender Checks project, we’ll be unveiling the half-year roundup of our findings later this week. For now, here’s a look at the representation of women during just our sixth month:
Sixth Month: June 28 – July 22, 2011
During our sixth month of Gender Checks, we reviewed 32 articles, two in each Gender Check. This month that included four Gender Checks from each geographic region. For each Gender Check, we looked at two websites from that region — one associated with a newspaper and one that was online-only. For our monitoring, we pulled the top or lead articles on their websites at the time of the check and gathered information on the gender of the author, the breakdown of the genders of the human sources referenced in the articles and other details. (For more on what Gender Checks are, read our introductory post here.)
Overall, the articles contained 105 male sources and 39 female sources, which meant women were 27 percent of the human sources referenced.
Here’s how it broke down by geographic region:
- West: 22 males, 11 female (Women at 33.3 percent)
- Northeast: 43 males, 14 females (Women at 24.6 percent)
- Midwest: 32 males, 10 females (Women at 23.8 percent)
- South: 8 male, 4 female (Women at 33.3 percent)
Sites associated with newspapers used a low percentage of female sources this month. Here’s the breakdown by news sites associated with a traditional newspaper and those that are not.
- Newspaper website: 56 males, 11 females (Women at 16.4 percent)
- Online-only: 49 males, 28 females (Women at 36.4 percent)
This month 13 articles were written by an individual woman and 17 by one or more man, which meant women were 43.3 percent of authors of one gender or the other this month, which is one of our higher percentages by month. The highest came in the fourth month with women as 57.1 percent of bylines, the only month that women were in the majority. There were two shared bylines between a man and a woman.
Here’s how bylines broke down by geographic region:
- West: 4 stories by an individual woman, 4 by an individual man
- Northeast: 2 by a woman, 4 by men and 2 with a shared byline between a man and a woman
- Midwest: 3 by a woman, 5 by a man
- South: 4 by a woman, 4 by a man (or two)
Here’s how women did in bylines between newspaper sites and online-only sites this month:
- Newspaper website: 5 by a woman, 10 by men and 1 with a shared byline between a man and woman
- Online-only: 8 by a woman, 7 by a man, 1 with a shared byline
As always, we remind our readers that these findings reflect a limited amount of data (a month’s worth) from our simple Gender Checks. We hope you recognize the limitations of this data, since we’ve only sampled a few articles from eight news sites. Further research and time is needed to verify any validity across the board.
To look at past month breakdowns and other data on gender representations in online news, check out our “Findings and Statistics” category. Check back later this week for our full sixth-month report.