New report documents persistent gender inequalities in U.S. media

new report from the Women’s Media Center draws attention to persistent and pervasive gender gaps in U.S. media.

The report, titled The Status of Women in U.S. Media 2013, provides a thorough summary of recent findings and studies pertaining to women’s representation in the media over the past year. It includes findings related to newspapers, television, radio, film, social media, literature, and video games. WMC released a similar report for 2012.

“The report shows that while media is the most powerful economic and cultural force today, it still falls far too short in its representation of women,” said Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, in a press release. “Who tells the story, what the story is about, and who is quoted in the story are core to the work of The Women’s Media Center, and the numbers demonstrate that the glass ceiling extends across all media platforms. We can do better – we must do better.  Women represent 51 percent of the U.S. population yet we’re still not seeing equal participation. That means we are only using half our talent and usually hearing half of the story.”

WMC GraphThis years report points to a number of findings we’ve also featured on our site over the past year, including that the percentage of women in U.S. newsrooms has remained unchanged  at 36.9 percent since 1999. Our Byline Report study, which looked at the gender breakdowns of bylines at six online-only news sites, is featured in the report. The study found that male bylines outnumbered female bylines four out of the six websites we examined during our six-month study. As the WMC report notes, “Newer, online-only news sites have fallen into the same rut as legacy media.” You can read about our findings on pages 20-21.

Here are some of the other highlights related to news media from the WMC report:

  • “By a nearly 3 to 1 margin, male front-page bylines at top newspapers outnumbered female bylines in coverage of the 2012 presidential election.”
  • “On Sunday TV talk shows, women comprised only 14 percent of those interviewed and 29 percent of roundtable guests.”
  • “Obituaries about men far outnumber those of women in top national and regional newspapers.”

A few media outlets have picked up on the report since its release last Friday. Here’s a round-up of coverage of the report thus far:

Women’s Media Center: Gender Gap In Media Is A ‘Crisis’ (Huffington Post Media)

No news is bad news for women in media (by Erik Wemple at the Washington Post)

Report: New media no better than old media when it comes to women’s bylines (Poynter)

What Impact Do Women Have On The Pop Culture They Create? (Think Progress)

Muting Women: Women Are Shut Out in the Media (by Jamie Stiehm at the U.S. News & World Report)

Seth MacFarlane’s Oscar jokes were bad, but they’re just part of a bigger problem (Christian Science Monitor)

Download and read the full report from the Women’s Media Center here.