WMC Press Releases

Women’s Media Center Report: Women journalists report less news than men; TV gender gap most stark

Click here to read the full report The Status of Women in U.S. Media 2017.

Click here for the Executive Summary of The Status of Women in U.S. Media 2017.

Click here for the Divided 2017: Media Gender Gap infographics. 


WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Women’s Media Center report examining who provides coverage for 20 top news outlets shows that female journalists continue to report less of the news than do male journalists — with the disparity especially glaring in television.

The WMC’s “Divided 2017” study finds that at ABC, CBS, and NBC combined, men report three times as much of the news as women do. Work by women anchors, field reporters, and correspondents has actually declined, falling to 25.2 percent of reports in 2016 from 32 percent when the organization published its previous report in 2015.

The research, which monitored news outlets for three months of 2016, found that the gender gap exists in traditional newspapers, online news, wire services, and TV news.

“The Women’s Media Center research is more than statistics — it is evidence, a tool for social change, and creates benchmarks to highlight the status and progress of women in media,” said Julie Burton, President of the Women’s Media Center. Burton continued, “Men still dominate media across all platforms — television, newspapers, online, and wires — with change coming only incrementally, and in the case of broadcast news, regressing at the three major networks. Our research projects on coverage of campus rape and coverage of reproductive rights show that the gender of the journalist affects how they cover topics and whom they choose as sources. Women are not equal partners in telling the story, nor are they equal partners in sourcing and interpreting what and who is important in the story.” 

As the nation celebrates Women’s History Month, WMC Co-founder Gloria Steinem says that an inclusive press is imperative in a democracy. “When men or women turn to or on the media, yet fail to see women in our true diversity, there is a sense that all or some women literally don’t count. It’s crucial that the media report and reflect, not conceal and distort.”

The “Divided” research is released in conjunction with WMC’s “Status of Women in U.S. Media 2017” — a snapshot of women in media platforms as diverse as news, literature, broadcast, film, television, radio, online, tech, gaming, and social media.

“Divided” analyzed bylines, on-camera anchor and correspondent appearances, and TV producer credits on 24,117 pieces of content produced from Sept. 1, 2016 through Nov. 30, 2016. The survey consisted of broadcast news from ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS; the online news sites of CNN, Fox News, Huffington Post, and The Daily Beast; and 10 of the nation’s most widely circulated newspapers. They are: Chicago Sun-Times, Los Angeles Times; New York Daily News, New York Post, San Jose Mercury News, The Denver Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and USA Today.

Here are the highlights from WMC’s “Divided 2017” for broadcast, newspapers, online news, and wire services:

  • Broadcast: Overall, men report 74.8 percent of the broadcast news; women report 25.2 percent. “PBS NewsHour” again leads evening news broadcasts in showing the work of female anchors and news correspondents. Men produce 55.0 percent of the news and women 45.0 percent. “ABC World News” comes in last, with men producing 88.2 percent of the news and women, 11.8 percent.  
  • Newspapers: Overall, men report 61.9 percent of the news in print; women report 38.1 percent. None of the print outlets achieve gender parity, although the San Jose Mercury News (55.7 percent men; 44.3 percent women) and The Washington Post (57.5 percent men; 42.5 percent women) have the narrowest gap. The New York Times has done the most to narrow the gap — now 61.0 percent men; 39.0 percent women, up from 32.3 percent. The widest gender gap is at the New York Daily News, where men write 76.0 percent of the news, compared to 24.0 percent for women.  
  • Online News: Men receive 53.9 percent of bylines. Compared to the other sectors, women garner more bylines — 46.1 percent of all bylines — at the four online news sites, combined. Fox News achieves the best gender ratio: 50.1 percent men; 49.9 percent women. The Huffington Post follows closely with men garnering 50.8 percent of the bylines and women 49.2 percent.  
  • Wires: Men report 62.4 percent of the stories generated by the two wire services. Women report 37.6 percent. Reuters again has a higher representation of female bylines than the Associated Press, but men still dominate: 61.1 percent for men; 38.9 percent for women.

The study also found that men produce most stories on sports, weather, and crime and justice. Women’s bylines are largely on lifestyle, health, and education news.

“The Status of Women in U.S. Media 2017” 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 the technology sector.

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; and features women’s voices and stories on our radio program “Women’s Media Center Live with Robin Morgan” and through WMC FeaturesWMC FBombWMC Women Under Siege, and WMC Speech Project. For press information about the Women’s Media Center, contact Cristal Williams Chancellor at: cristal@womensmediacenter.com or 202-270-8539.