WMC Press Releases

Women’s Media Center Releases Yearly Status of Women in U.S. Media Report

New Report: Women’s Role in U.S. Media: Still Dismal? Getting Stronger?

Forty-nine studies—including new research from WMC—detail the shape and scope of women’s participation in media

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Women’s Media Center (WMC) today released its yearly report on the status of women in U.S. media. The report is based on new and original research that finds that the media landscape is still dominated by male voices and male perspectives.

Taken together, the 49 studies are a snapshot of women in media platforms as diverse as news, literature, broadcast, film, television, radio, online, tech, gaming, and social media.

“Inequality defines our media,” said Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center. “Our research shows that women, who are more than half of the population, write only a third of the stories. Media tells us our roles in society—it tells us who we are and what we can be. This new report shows us who matters and what is important to media—and clearly, as of right now, it is not women.”

As the 2016 presidential campaign takes shape, WMC’s original research shows that in 2014, men reported 65 percent of all U. S. political news stories. In addition, as the summer entertainment television and movie season gets under way, figures documenting all sectors of film and television production find that women still have limited creative input in shaping the characters, images, and depictions on screen. And although women use social media platforms at greater rates than men, the companies that create those platforms are largely white and male.

Click here to read the full report: The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2015

‘WMC’s Divided 2015: The Media Gender Gap

For the second consecutive year, the WMC commissioned its own study of how many women were among the nation’s journalists and the issues they were assigned to cover.

Men were more likely to write or report on the topics of politics, criminal justice, science, sports, and technology, according to WMC’s “Divided 2015: The Media Gender Gap,” a three-month analysis released today as part of the Women’s Media Center’s Status of Women in U.S. Media report. This study looked at the nation’s 10 most widely circulated newspapers, the national evening news broadcasts, the most-viewed Internet news sites, and two international wire services.

“With the 2016 presidential election already under way, this is especially problematic,” said Burton. “We hope that one good result of releasing these discouraging numbers will be that media can take a hard look at their newsrooms and make changes to improve the ratios in their reporting. Media companies should establish goals for improving their gender diversity and create both short-term and long-term mechanisms for achieving them. They should ask themselves why their newsrooms aren’t 50 percent women and what steps they need to take to get there. And if they aren’t asking themselves these questions, then that’s a problem.”

WMC’s research examined 27,758 pieces of content produced from October 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014. Only three outlets achieved or exceeded parity: the Chicago Sun-Times, The Huffington Post, and the two anchor chairs at PBS NewsHour.

Click here to see the full infographic for “Divided 2015: The Media Gender Gap.

WMC’s “Divided 2015: The Media Gender Gap” also found that:

  • Overall, men generated 62.1 percent of news; women generated 37.3 percent.
  • In evening broadcast news, men were on camera 68 percent of the time. These include appearances by anchors as well as correspondents. Women were on-camera 32 percent of the time.
  • In print, men wrote 62 percent of all stories in 10 of the most widely circulated newspapers. Women wrote just 37 percent.
  • On the Internet, men wrote 58 percent of content at four online news sites. Women wrote 42 percent of the content.
  • On the wires, men wrote 62 percent of the content. Women wrote 38 percent.

WMC’s The Status of Women in U.S. Media 2015 curates the most recent major studies by university-based researchers, nonprofit media-watch groups, professional and trade groups representing various areas of the news industry, entertainment media, and technology. Here are the highlights in film and television; gaming, technology, and social media; and in traditional print and TV.

In film and television entertainment:

The number of women creators, writers, producers, executive producers, photography directors, and editors of prime-time TV entertainment shows slid 1 percentage point between 2012-13 and 2013-14, with women representing only 27 percent of that entire workforce.

In addition, men were 83 percent of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors for the 250 most profitable films made in the United States in 2014. The figures documenting all sectors of film and television production demonstrate that few women have creative input in what is depicted on television, film, and in the growing offerings of online networks. Moreover, collectively when women characters appear in our entertainment they are given less lines, are younger, and show more skin than male characters.

“The numbers are stark and striking and need to change,” said WMC Co-founder Jane Fonda. “The fact is that most of our entertainment is directed by white men and most of the stories are told through the eyes of men. The first step in changing the picture is to recognize there is a problem. The Women’s Media Center’s report should demonstrate to everyone how deep the problem goes.”

In gaming, technology, and on social media:

Female social media users are subjected to more online harassment in the form of sexual insults, threats, and stalking. Many online “neighborhoods”—particularly in online gaming, but also the comments sections of websites and online discussion sites—are significantly less welcoming to women than to men.

  • At Facebook, Google, and Twitter, men accounted for 69 or 70 percent of the rank-and-file workforce in 2014. Among company executives, the percentage of men was even higher.
  • Women feel less welcome online than men. Of women aged 18-24, 26 percent said they had been stalked online and 25 percent they were sexually harassed online.

In traditional print and TV:

  • White men made up 56 percent of daily newspaper employees; white women made up 31 percent; black women made up 2.19 percent; Hispanic women, 1.83 percent; Asian women, 1.64 percent; Native American women, 0.16 percent; and multi-racial women, 0.27 percent.
  • Men accounted for roughly 74 percent of guests on major TV networks’ Sunday morning news shows. Women were 26 percent.
  • Editorial boards of the 10 largest newspapers in nine regions of the country had, on average, seven men and four women.

The report was written for the Women’s Media Center by Katti Gray, veteran journalist and custom content producer. The report was reviewed by Cindy Royal, Ph.D., an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University in San Marcos.

The Women’s Media Center, co-founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem, works to make women visible and powerful in media. The Women’s Media Center trains women leaders to be in the media; promotes women experts to the media through WMC SheSource; conducts groundbreaking research and reporting on media inclusion and accuracy; features women’s voices and stories on our radio program “Women’s Media Center Live with Robin Morgan” and through WMC Features, WMC FBomb, and WMC Women Under Siege.

Links to Divided 2015 The Media Gender Gap Infographics:

Media and Gender Landscape - http://j.mp/gender-media-landscape
Gender Gap in Print Media - http://j.mp/gender-gap-print
Gender Gap in Reporting Topics - http://j.mp/women-report-on
Gender Gap in Evening Broadcasts - http://j.mp/gender-gap-broadcasts
Gender Gap in Internet - http://j.mp/internet-gender-gap
Gender Gap in the Wires - http://j.mp/gender-media-wires
Overall Media Gender Gap - http://j.mp/gender-gap-bottom-line

For press information about the Women’s Media Center, contact Cristal Williams Chancellor at: cristal@womensmediacenter.com or 202-587-1636.

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