In the Spotlight: Q&A with the International Women’s Media Foundation

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of posts featuring organizations making strides in the area of gender representations in the news. View other posts in this series here.

International Women’s Media Foundation

The Gender Report spoke with Nadine Hoffman, director of programs at the International Women’s Media Foundation, via email about the exciting work the organization is doing. Here’s what she had to say:

1. For those who are unfamiliar with your work, give us your elevator pitch — What is the International Women’s Media Foundation?

The IWMF’s mission is to support the advancement of women journalists worldwide. Since 1990, our organization has built a vibrant global network of individuals dedicated to this objective, with the conviction that women’s full participation in news media is crucial to furthering freedom of the press.

2. What do you consider to be the biggest issue when it comes to the representation of women in journalism and its creation?

“The Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media”

In March 2011, the IWMF released a groundbreaking study, the Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media, including data from 522 companies in 59 countries. In our research, we looked at every level of the profession, collecting information from 170,000 news media employees from entry level to top management.

The global report shows that for women journalists in many countries, the glass ceiling is still a real phenomenon. This is especially true at middle and senior management levels. Seventy-three percent of top management jobs are held by men. In some regions, women’s representation is much worse than others. In Asia and Oceana, for example, women only hold 13 percent of senior management jobs.

Gender inequity in newsrooms is glaringly obvious at the top, but in reality it is a pervasive problem across the board. Under-representation of women in newsrooms was found in nearly half (44 percent) of all nations included in the study.

[GR: A panel discussion on this report was held Sept. 13 in conjunction with the Center for International Media Assistance. Contributors to the panel event included the report’s author, Carolyn M. Byerly, a professor at Howard University’s department of journalism; Liza Gross, executive director of the International Women’s Media Foundation; Shirley M. Carswell, deputy executive editor of the Washington Post; Mónica Villamizar, correspondent with al-Jazeera English based in Washington, D.C.; and moderator Suzanne Garment of the CIMA advisory council. View a summation of this panel event and watch for a video here.]

3. How is your organization a part of the solution?

The IWMF works to strengthen the role of women journalists in a number of ways. We actively cultivate women’s leadership by offering innovative training, including recent workshops as part of our Reporting on Women and Agriculture: Africa program in Mali, Uganda and Zambia. Our March 2011 International Conference of Women Media Leaders brought together almost 70 top women news executives from 40 countries to create a global plan of action advancing the status of women in media.

We’re also committed to training journalists – men and women – to employ a gender lens in their reporting , seeking out women as sources, investigating issues that affect them and telling their untold stories.

We are perhaps best known for honoring the bravery of women journalists with our annual Courage in Journalism and Lifetime Achievement Awards. [GR: This year’s recipients will be honored at ceremonies in Los Angeles on Oct. 24 and New York on Oct. 27. Read about these women here.]

4. What project are you currently working on that you’re most excited about? Share a little bit about it.

Our Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Digital News Frontier program is one that we are really excited about. With generous support from the Ford Foundation, we’re giving seed funding to women journalists who want to start their own news enterprises, and supporting them through the first year of their entrepreneurial endeavors. We’ve created a call series tailored specifically to their professional development needs, featuring some amazing experts, and we’ve also offered an ongoing coaching component. We hope to expand this program in the coming year to include international women entrepreneurs.

5. What needs does your organization have? How can people get involved?

The IWMF is a small non-profit, and we rely on the strength of our network to advance our cause. We are always looking to enlist new supporters who share our mission. There are several easy ways to get involved

  • Follow us on Twitter @iwmf.
  • Like and friend us on Facebook.
  • Subscribe to receive IWMF updates on our website –
  • Donate online –
  • Contact us about opportunities to collaborate on future programs and events.

Find out more about the International Women’s Media Foundation by visiting its website at View our post on the foundation’s “Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media” here.


Are you a member of an organization that looks to address issues of gender representation in the news? Contact us about being next month’s “In the Spotlight” organization by emailing

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