Report Your Thoughts: Where are the women? (Part 2)

Editor’s note: Our findings through our monitoring projects have served to identify and bring attention to the fact that women’s voices are missing, but have left us with more questions than answers. That’s why we’re taking our project a step further by starting a discussion on why this is the case and what can be done about it. This is part of a series of posts each week aiming to start a discussion on gender representations in online news. View past “Report Your Thoughts” discussions here.


Question 2: Where are the women (as sources)?

Last week we launched our “Report Your Thoughts” discussion series with the basic question about our findings: Why? Why are women present in such low numbers in our byline counts of lead articles as well as our looks inside newsrooms? (View this discussion post as well as some of the comments here.)

This week, we’d like to look at a related question: Why are women’s voices absent among news sources?

Here are some facts:

-The Global Media Monitoring Project (2010) found that overall in a study of media platforms from 100 countries that women were 24 percent of news subjects – people heard or read on traditional platforms like newspapers, television and radio in the sample. They were 23 percent of news subjects in the websites monitored.

-At the six-month mark, we’ve found that women make up only 25.3 percent of sources in lead articles on online news sites in our Gender Check study. That percentage is even lower in the most linked to and discussed articles of the web in the New Media Index, where women are only 20.2 percent of sources. Women didn’t fair much better in our sample of lead articles from the 40 “national” sites in the News Frontier Database. In that study, women were 22 percent of sources.

So, in most studies, women are a quarter or fewer of news sources. Why is that?

We want to hear from you. What do you make of these findings. Why is this the case? Share your thoughts in the comment section as well as on Twitter with the hashtag #GRdiscuss or on our Facebook page.

So, for the second week, we ask: Where are the women?

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