Journalism Gender Gap Is Wide According to Recent Study

There is an ever widening gender gap present in journalism, according to the Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2014 study conducted by the Women’s Media Center.

The study thoroughly detailed the journalism landscape and said:

“Gender inequality among journalists is evident across all media outlets and all issues. Men received 63% of byline credits in print, internet, and wire news.

This means that women are only represented in the media 36.1% of the time despite the fact that women enter into the journalism field in more often than their male counterparts.

Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, said “The Women’s media center produces the annual Status of Women in U.S. Media Report to provide an overview of the role of women in media and thereby in society. It is a roadmap that tells us where we are and where we need to go for women to achieve an equal voice and equal participation. The numbers tell a clear story for the need for change on every media platform.”

The Women’s Media Center study also found that women were not only unrepresented in nearly all mediums, but there was also an astounding gap between the topics reported on a well.

The study says, “Men more frequently report on news topics, but inequality is particularly pronounced in topics such as world politics, business and economics, technology and science.”

This is certainly clear as the results show over 68% of reporting on U.S. politics is done by men compared to the 32% conducted by women. The trend continues with men consistently reporting on key issues while women are relegated to flexing their journalist muscles on hard hitting entertainment and lifestyle articles.

Don’t get too excited about women getting more bylines/credit in some areas, though. Men are still reigning over these “female” topics with women inching closer to some semblance of parity…even if they have to deliver the goods on the latest health fad or who wore it best at the last awards show in order to do it.

The gender gap is a little confounding given that nearly two-thirds of the students enrolled in journalism and mass communication programs are women at both the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels. Women are also cornering the degrees at the doctoral level as they represent more than 60% of those enrolled, according to the 2013 Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communication Enrollments from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

That’s an awful lot of qualified women silenced by gender inequality.

Cutting straight to the point in the study was veteran news writer and producer Lisa Cox as she said “The world is a melting pot full of varying experiences and viewpoints that must be considered and explored when it comes to deciding what is news. A room full of men, of any race or age, would not possibly know how to deliver all of that news and will continue to fail in their delivery attempts – until they admit they can’t do it alone.”

So, what’s the solution? There’s no easy answer here, which the data clearly shows. The one thing we do know is that there is much work to be done on both sides of the gender gap if any sense of equality is to be fostered.

Hopefully this new data will spark a conversation within journalism and encourage those dominating it to work harder towards blurring the lines between genders while bridging the gap. This means more solid, well-rounded journalism can be presented to the public as all voices are heard on an equal platform.

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