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Women’s Media Center Releases New Report on Status of Women in US Media

February 13, 2012

Report Exposes Problem:  Gender Disparity in Media is at Crisis Levels

Contact:  Rachel Larris at rachel@womensmediacenter.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, February 13, 2012 – The Women’s Media Center released a new report today that shines a light on the status of women in media.  The Women’s Media Center 2012 Report on the Status of Women in US Media underscores the crucial need to hold media accountable for an equal voice and equal participation. Women’s Media Center co-founders, Jane FondaRobin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem hailed the report as a wake-up call for media makers and media consumers.

Jane Fonda noted the importance of the report and said, “The sad fact is, gender inequality is so deeply ingrained in our culture, most people don’t realize there’s a problem. No major issue can be approached effectively without including the needs, views, and talents of the other half of the population.”

Robin Morgan urged the press to help the public – and media management – understand the critical importance of gender equality in media. “Kept ignorant of the different realities women’s voices describe, we’re all constrained by two-dimensional information – at our peril," said Morgan.  "The greatest threat to democracy in the Information Age is the erasure, underrepresentation, and misrepresentation of women – who after all compose 51% of the US (and global) population. This must change.”

Gloria Steinem added that “when women’s voices and stories are largely missing from the media – thus silencing over half the country and half the world’s population – everyone suffers from missing crucial stories, facts and solutions.  The Women’s Media Center’s report helps to explain why people are abandoning undemocratic media for the Internet.  Like a husband who hasn’t been listening to his wife and is shocked when she leaves, centers of media power may find themselves waking up alone.”

The Women’s Media Center 2012 Report on the Status of Women in the US Media summarizes recent available statistical data on gender and who determines the content of news (newspapers, television, radio, sports, and newsmakers), literature and television and film entertainment, as well as how women are depicted on entertainment television and film. 

Some key findings from 2011 include:

  • Women represented 21.7% of guests on Sunday morning news talk shows airing on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, and Fox News.
  • Women comprised only 18.1% of all radio news directors.
  • The “Heavy Hundred” the “most important radio talk show hosts in America” selected by the editors of Talkers magazine with input from industry leaders, included only 13 solo women hosts and three women who co-host shows with men.
  • In sports news, women represented 11.4% of all editors, 10% of all columnists, and 7% of all reporters.
  • Of the top 250 domestic grossing films, women were 5% of the directors, 14% of the writers, 18% of the executive producers, 25% of the producers, 20% of the editors, and 4% of the cinematographers.
  • In the key behind-the-scenes role in entertainment television, women were 18% of the creators, 22% of the executive producers, 37% of the producers, 15% of the writers, 11% of the directors, 20% of the editors, and 4% of the directors of photography.

The full report with data citations is available here.

“The Women’s Media Center exists to change the status of women in media," said Julie Burton president of the Women’s Media Center. "This report shines a light on the fact that we are only rarely using half our talent and usually hearing half the story. That’s the problem.”

“The Women’s Media Center is working on the solution, which is creating a level playing field for women and girls in media through our monitoring, training, original content, and activism.”

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