Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Women in the News: preliminary results of Global Media Monitoring Project 2010

Only 24% of persons seen, heard, or read about in the news are female.

This is one of the key findings of the 2010 Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP). The preliminary report was released on 2 March 2010 at a panel discussion and debate on the occasion of the 54th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York.

The results contained in the report are preliminary, based on a sample of 42 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Pacific Islands and Europe. The findings encompass 6,902 news items and 14,044 news subjects, including people interviewed in the news.

Among the key findings are:

* 24% of the people interviewed, heard, seen or read about in mainstream broadcast and print news are female; only 16% of all stories focus specifically on women.

* Women have achieved near parity as givers of popular opinion in news stories. But less than one out of every five experts interviewed is female, and men predominate strongly as eyewitnesses and providers of personal experience in news stories.

* Almost one half (48%) of all news stories reinforce gender stereotypes, while 8% of news stories challenge gender stereotypes. Women in the news are identified by their familial relationships (wife, mother, daughter) five times more often than men.

* Overall, news stories by female reporters are much fewer than news stories by male reporters. News stories by female reporters have considerably more female news subjects than stories by male reporters and challenge gender stereotypes almost twice as often as stories by male reporters.

The study reveals overall that women remain grossly underrepresented in news coverage in contrast to men, resulting in news that depicts a world in which women are largely absent. The research also shows a paucity of women's views and opinions compared to male perspectives in mainstream news reports.

Comparison with results of the three previous editions of the GMMP carried out every five years since 1995 shows signs of change towards gender balanced and gender responsive news. Female news subjects have increased from 17% to 24% in the last 15 years. Popular opinion in the news is now nearly at parity, compared to 2005 when at 66%, popular opinion was largely provided by men.

The Global Media Monitoring Project is coordinated by the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC).