WMC Reports

The Status of Women in U.S. Media 2019

Wmc Status Report 2019 Cover

Read the press release here
Download The Status of Women in U.S Media 2019 here.

“The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2019” shows that despite some gains, men still dominate in every part of news, entertainment and digital media. The report is comprised of 94 studies, including original research by the Women’s Media Center and aggregated research from academia, industry and professional groups, labor unions, media watchdogs, newsrooms and other sources.

Executive Summary 

These are among its key findings in journalism:

  • With a record low number of responses to its annual diversity survey — 17.3 percent of newsrooms responded — the American Society of News Editors’ latest tally found that women comprised 41.7 percent and people of color 22.6 percent of the overall workforce in those responding newsrooms.
  • Sports desks at 75 of the nation’s newspapers and online news sites earned a “B+” for racial diversity, a “D+” for gender and racial diversity, combined, and a sixth consecutive “F” for lack of gender equity, according to the “Racial and Gender Report Card,” commissioned by the Associated Press Sports Editors.
  • A record number of women are working in TV news, including as news directors; but fewer women and people of color are employed in radio news, according to the Radio Television Digital News Association.
  • Women owned 7.4 percent of the nation’s commercial TV stations, according to the federal government’s most recent tally.
  • Women were general managers of 17.4 percent of the nation’s AM and FM stations, according to Mentoring Inspiring Women in Radio. 
  • Articles exploring sexual assault and harassment at 14 of the nation’s largest newspapers surged by 30 percent during the 15 months after Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual crime hit headlines, according to the Women’s Media Center.
  • Women at the four most widely circulated U.S.-based newspapers penned an average of 15 percent of guest-writer op-eds on international issues during 1996, 2006 and 2016, according to the Foreign Policy Institute.
  • Twenty-eight female journalists in the United States and 47 of their news counterparts in four other nations said online harassers directed lewd comments, sexual solicitations and rape threats against them, according to the University of Texas Center for Media Engagement.
  • Pay gaps persist along gender lines in newsrooms at the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, with men earning substantially more than women.
  • The percentage of White and male workers in newsrooms was higher than in that of the overall U.S. workforce, according to the Pew Research Center.
  • Male congressional journalists had twice as many followers and maintained a higher profile on Twitter than did women congressional journalists, according to researchers from George Washington and Calvin Universities.
  • Female students continued to outnumber male students in journalism programs at colleges and universities, even as overall enrollment declined, according to an Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication-commissioned survey.
  • Over 12 years, through 2018, men accounted for 93.4 percent, or, 654, of the 704 individual directors of the highest-grossing films. Women accounted for 6.6 percent, or, 46 of those 704, according to the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.
  • The number of women working on-screen in television and online streaming entertainment shows declined 2 percentage points from 2016-17 to 2017-18, when 40 percent of all speaking characters were female and 60 percent were men, according to San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film.
  • Females accounted for fewer than a third of speaking characters in 1,100 films released during 11 consecutive years ending in 2017, according to researchers at USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.
  • Both relatively low-budget and high-budget films with diverse cast members earned more at the box office than those without diversity among its actors; and people of color also spent more on tickets than Whites, according to the Creative Artists Agency’s examination of 641 theatrical films released from January 2014 through August 2018.
  • Women comprised 32 percent of film reviewers and men, 68 percent, according to an analysis of 4,111 reviews written in 2018 and posted on the popular Rotten Tomatoes website, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film. 
  • The share of women among nominees in the Oscars’ 19 non-acting categories rose slightly from 23 percent to 25 percent from 2018 to 2019, but women were shut out of nominations for cinematography, directing, editing, original score and visual effects, according to the Women’s Media Center.
  • The number of women and people of color directing episodes of entertainment TV shows, for a second consecutive year, hit a record high during the 2017-18 season, according to the Directors Guild of America.
  • According to race-parity advocates Color of Change, Black writers were systematically excluded from working on TV entertainment shows, with 17.3 percent of shows having one Black writer, 17.3 percent having two or more Black writers, and the rest none.
  • Women were overrepresented as script supervisors and art and production coordinators, among those holding lower-paying craft jobs in Hollywood, according to a two-year study by the Teamsters Union.
  • Among non-celebrities covered by the union’s largest contract, men were more likely than women to snag new weekly contracts to perform lead roles in plays and musicals. And though more women than men were stage managers, the women managers earned less, according to Actors Equity’s first-ever study of the gender gap on stage.
  • Over a decade, there was no significant rise in the number of female tech workers and Black tech workers, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s most recent data.
  • 45 percent of U.S. gamers were female, reflecting continued, year-over-year increases in female gamers, according to the Entertainment Software Association.
  • Of mascots displayed on packaging and advertisements for 6,500 consumer products, including 500 top-selling ones, 67.1 percent were male and 31.4 percent were female, according to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.
  • 21.6 percent of 529 start-up founders answering First Round’s fourth annual State of Start-ups survey said their company had a formal policy for addressing gender and race diversity. That percentage represented an increase from the prior two years. Also, fewer boards of directors for start-ups — 54 percent — were all-male.
  • Corporations with women and minorities in leadership were more profitable, according to global management consultants McKinsey & Co., which concluded that the top 25 percent of companies with a gender-diverse executive team were 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the bottom 25 percent.
  • Editors of the nation’s 135 most widely distributed newspapers are overwhelmingly male and White, according to the Columbia Journalism Review.
  • Roughly half of the women journalists from 50 countries, including the United States, surveyed by the International Federation of Journalists said that they faced a range of physical and verbal abuse in the course of their work.
  • The proportion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer regular (LGBTQ) characters cast during the 2018-19 broadcast TV season — 8.8 percent of 857 regular characters — was the highest tallied in the 14 years that the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has tracked broadcast series characters.


The Status of Women in U.S. Media 2019: Download full report

Read the press release here
Download Divided 2019: Media Gender Gap infographics here

Read past year's reports:  

The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2017

The Status of Women of Color in the U.S. News Media 2018

The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2015

The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2014

The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2013

The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2012

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