Updated Report Shows That the Media Gender Gap Is Still Enormous

The Women's Media Center has released an update to its annual State of the Media report; its findings are (as always) pretty grim. This year: out of 27,000 pieces of content — a category that includes "TV networks, newspapers, news wires, and online news sites" — reviewed for the study, 63.4 contributors were male. Ugh.

According to the new findings, men dominate TV news anchoring and field reporting — CBS and NBC are particularly horrible at this; their evening news teams are 95 and 93 percent male, respectively. Encouragingly, both ABC and PBS have more female anchors than males: their news teams are 58 and 93 percent female, respectively. In print, the Chicago Sun Times has the largest percent of female bylines, which is 46 percent. The New York Times, with only 31 of its bylines held by female authors, is the worst at gender parity. Things are a bit more equal online: both The Huffington Post and CNN are fairly close to 50/50; Fox News (62 percent male bylines) and The Daily Beast (70 percent male bylines) are not.

Topic-wise, women are far more likely to cover health, lifestyle and education, which are all seen as "feminine" topics. They're least likely to cover crime and justice and world politics — for both categories, only 32 percent of content is authored by women. Other male-dominated topics include tech (duh), business/economics (of course) and U.S. politics. This is quite clearly a bad thing because it results in media that universalizes the male perspective and prohibits women from speaking for themselves — as when Foreign Policy recently had a panel that discussed the gender disparity in foreign policy reporting that was 8/9 men. This sort of thing shouldn't be happening in 2014, but, sadly, progress is very slow.


"The American media have exceedingly more distance to travel on the road to gender-blind parity," writes WMC President Julie Burton in the introduction to the report. "Only when women are equal partners in the multi-layered work of deciding what constitutes a story and how that story might be told can we paint a more textured, accurate picture of the worlds that we all — male and female — inhabit."

Read the rest of the report here.