Media frames how we understand and approach the world every day. When the news we hear and watch does not fully represent the voices in our societies, it paints an inaccurate picture of our world and misinforms how citizens and decision-makers respond to challenges globally.
In today’s age of fake news and fabricated facts, it is easy to forget the danger of the incomplete story. Although newsrooms are more committed than ever to ethical, diverse and inclusive journalism, research reveals we still have a long way to go in reporting the whole story. There is a startling gap in who is actually featured in the media today: women in particular are highly marginalised in global news.
According to the Global Gender Monitoring Project which analyses media trends from over 100 countries, women only appear as news subjects a quarter of the time, and when they do, it is rarely for their expertise.
81% of interviewed experts in global news are men, compared to an astounding 19% of expert women 1 . This sharp divide only improved by 2% since 2005, and is largely consistent across the globe.
North America holds the highest number of women experts in the news at a disappointing 32%, followed by the Caribbean (29%) and Latin America (27%). The gender gap cuts even deeper in digital media: the difference in selection of female subjects and sources is more than three times higher online than in traditional mediums.
“The monitoring shows extremely slow progress in bringing women’s voices to bear in public discourse taking place through the news media. Not only does the news present a male-centric view of the world, it is also marked by gender bias and extensive stereotyping that underpin marginalisation, discrimination and violence against girls and women.” (GGMP 2015)
In situations of conflict and crisis, women’s voices are even more inaudible. Women become powerless, victims of a story they seem unable to grasp. Yet, this invisibility could not be further from reality. Not only are women frontline agents of change in conflict, they also bring unique and insightful expertise which is rarely reflected in global news.
Women make half of the global population and conflict impacts women distinctly. To put it simply, news coverage which does not reflect women’s perspective and expertise is only half- accurate.
InterviewHer aims to bridge this gap: this tool makes it easier for journalists to reach credible, women expert sources on issues of conflict, peace and security globally and thus achieve more balanced, fair, and gender-sensitive reporting.
Through our “Find an expert” page, journalists can locate experts by region, country, or search through a range of over 20 focus areas. We encourage you, journalists, reporters and editors, to interview these women and hope this tool helps you tell more fulsome and balanced news stories.
“Women and girls are half of humanity. Giving equal time and weight to their stories is an important part of creating a better, freer world for all of us.” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UN Women.
If you’re still not convinced:
- Gender bias persists in international reporting, The Atlantic, Gabby Deutch, Feb. 11, 2019: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/02/gender-bias-persists-international-reporting-atlantic/582235/
- Behold, the marticle (a primer on how to avoid only quoting men as sources), Pointer.org: https://www.poynter.org/news/behold-marticle-primer-how-avoid-only-quoting-men-sources
- I’m not quoting enough women, New York Times op-ed, David Leonahrt, May 13, 2018 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/13/opinion/women-sexism-journalism-conferences.html
- I analyzed a year of my reporting for gender bias (again), The Atlantic, Adrienne LaFrance, Feb. 17, 2016 https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/02/gender-diversity-journalism/463023/
- Tracking women in the media: A survey I wish was obsolete: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/tracking-women-in-the-media-a-survey-i-wish-were-obsolete/article29119631/
- Foreign Policy Interrupted
- Global Media Monitoring Project, 2015
- The role of media in conflict reportage – Isis International (Report)
1 Source: Global Gender Monitoring Project, 2015