Surprise! The Number of Women in U.S. Media Is Still Pretty Low

Illustration for article titled Surprise! The Number of Women in U.S. Media Is Still Pretty Low
Image: Getty

On Thursday, the Women’s Media Center released its annual Status of Women in U.S. Media report and the results are pretty depressing.


Of the newsrooms who responded (which was a record low—17% of 1,700 publications surveyed) women represented only 41.7 percent employees—though women continue to outnumber men in college and university level journalism programs. People of color, regardless of gender, represented 22.6 percent.

This isn’t specific to a certain kind of news, like political news. Men dominate in all fields of the industry: digital and print news platforms, film, television, radio, technology, literature, culture and entertainment news, sports news, so on and so forth.

Most inadequate are wire services like Reuters and AP: the Women’s Media Center found that 69 percent of those bylines went to men, leaving women’s contributions at a dismal 31 percent. Those outlets are followed closely by TV prime-time news broadcasts, where men anchors and correspondents make up 63 percent of the population, and only 33 percent of those roles are held by women. In digital news: 60 percent of content is written by men and 40 percent by women. In print: 59 percent of journalists are men, 41 percent are women.

Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, put it best in the study’s forward:

“The media is in a state of great disruption, but despite all of the change, one thing remains the same: the role of women is significantly smaller than that of men in every part of news, entertainment and digital media.

Fewer opportunities and promotions for women translate into fewer women reporting the news than men; fewer women creating films and television than men; fewer women driving technology, gaming and innovation. Even artificial intelligence has a gender and racial bias when its machine learning is based on language and structures dominated by men.

Media tells our society (and our young people) what is important and who matters. The data in this report paints a stark picture.”

Here is a not-at-all distressing graphic that highlights a binary gender breakdown in some of the biggest polled publications:

Illustration for article titled Surprise! The Number of Women in U.S. Media Is Still Pretty Low
Screenshot: WMC

Read the rest of the report here and, uh, try to have a decent weekend?

URL: Senior Writer, Jezebel. IRL: Author of the very good book 'LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS,' out now.



As someone with a journalism degree, I chose not to pursue that route because I needed a semblance of job security (I graduated before the days when you could stay on your parents’ health insurance until your mid-twenties).