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Women’s Media Center Releases The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2013

February 22, 2013

Report Finds Gender Inequality Stubbornly Persists in Media Representation

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The Women’s Media Center Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2013 was released today.  It details the persistent gender disparity in a range of media businesses and institutions that rank among the greatest influencers in American society.

Using an avalanche of new surveys, studies and reports, the Women’s Media Center report examines the representation of women in newspapers, online-only news sites, television, radio, social media, literature, video games, film and television, sports news, newsmakers and corporate/technology leadership. It also looks at how women's issues, female journalists and newsmakers fared during the 2012 presidential election. This is the second year the Women’s Media Center has issued the report. (Click here to download the report.)

Here are a few highlights from the report:

• By a nearly 3 to 1 margin, male front-page bylines at top newspapers outnumbered female bylines in coverage of the 2012 presidential election. Men were also far more likely to be quoted than women in newspapers, television and public radio.

• On Sunday TV talk shows, women comprised only 14 percent of those interviewed and 29 percent of roundtable guests.

• Talk radio and sports talk radio hosts are overwhelmingly male.

• As newspaper employment continues to tumble, so does the number of women in key jobs.

• Newer, online-only news sites have fallen into the same rut as legacy media. Male bylines outnumbered female bylines at four of six sites reviewed.

• The percentage of women who are television news directors edged up, reaching 30 percent for the first time. Overall employment of women in TV news remains flat.

• Obituaries about men far outnumber those of women in top national and regional newspapers.

• Women comprised just 9 percent of the directors of the top 250 domestic grossing films of 2012.

• Women comprised 39 percent of documentary directors whose work appeared at major festivals in 2011-12.

• Across all behind-the-camera positions, females were most likely to be producers.
However, as the prestige of the producing post increased, the percentage of female participation decreased.

• Forty-seven percent of gamers are women, but 88 percent of video game developers are male

Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, said that, “The report shows that while media is the most powerful economic and cultural force today, it still falls far too short in its representation of women.  Who tells the story, what the story is about, and who is quoted in the story are core to the work of The Women’s Media Center, and the numbers demonstrate that the glass ceiling extends across all media platforms.  We can do better – we must do better.  Women represent 51 percent of the U.S. population yet we’re still not seeing equal participation. That means we are only using half our talent and usually hearing half of the story.”

The report is being released just prior to Sunday’s Academy Awards, which this year has 140 male nominees—and just 35 females.

It was researched and written for the Women’s Media Center by Diana Mitsu Klos, an executive strategist for media organizations, associations and nonprofits. Cindy Royal, Ph.D., an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University in San Marcos reviewed it. Cristal Williams Chancellor, media relations manager of The Women’s Media Center, edited the report.

The Women's Media Center works to make women and girls visible and powerful in the media through strategic programs that transform the media landscape, and that include media training, media monitoring and activism, media reports, media programs, and special initiatives.  The Women’s Media Center also produces original media content on our CBS radio show, Women’s Media Center Live with Robin Morgan, and publishes Women’s Media Center Features that provide progressive women’s perspectives on both headline stories and timely events.  The organization was founded in 2005 by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem.

For more information, contact Cristal Williams Chancellor, media relations manager, or 202-587-1636.