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Women In Media

Women’s Media Center Releases 2019 Status of Women in U.S. Media Report:

Men dominate news, entertainment and digital media

94 studies — including new research from WMC — detail the shape and scope of women’s participation in media

Click here to read the full report.

The Women’s Media Center (WMC) today released its 2019 report on the status of women in U.S. media, which shows that despite some gains, men still dominate in every part of news, entertainment and digital media.

“The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2019” is comprised of 94 studies, including original research by WMC and aggregated research from academia, industry and professional groups, labor unions, media watchdogs, newsrooms and other sources.

Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, said the data in the report paints a stark picture. “The media is in a state of great disruption, but despite all of the change, one thing remains the same: the role of women is significantly smaller than that of men in every part of news, entertainment and digital media. It is clear that a cultural, systemic shift is necessary if all parts of the U.S media are to achieve gender and racial parity and move toward a world where stories fully represent the voices and perspectives of diverse women,” she said. “Research spotlighted in this report shows that diversity boosts corporate profits. When boardrooms, newsrooms, studios and tech companies fully reflect the faces, genders and myriad talents of our society, we’re all exceedingly better served.”

The report includes several original WMC studies, including “Divided 2019: The Media Gender Gap,” an assessment of where women stand as media writers, reporters, correspondents and anchors in the major news media platforms, including the prime-time broadcast news programs, print publications, wire services and online news sites. Across all media platforms, men receive 63 percent of bylines and credits; women receive only 37 percent.

“Women have been fighting for greater parity and equality in the news media for decades,” said Maya Harris, co-chair, Women’s Media Center. “This report shows that more work needs to be done to level the playing field. Women and our male allies will not rest until we see wholesale change.”

“When we watch the evening news, we’re not seeing an America that truly reflects all voices,” said Pat Mitchell, co-chair, Women’s Media Center. “Too often, the voices we hear and the images we see are men’s. Men largely are reporting and telling the story even though women represent more than half the U.S. population.”

The report is inclusive and also features WMC’s “The Status of Women of Color in the U.S. News Media 2018,” which offers a rare look at where women journalists of color are — and aren’t — in legacy print, radio, TV, and digital news.

“Missing women of color in the newsrooms of this country is an injustice in itself, and an injustice to every American reader and viewer who is deprived of great stories and a full range of facts,” said Gloria Steinem, WMC co-founder. “Inclusiveness in the newsroom means inclusiveness in the news. Racism and sexism put blinders on everyone.”

In an expanded section on tech, social media, gaming and engineering, “Status 2019” also spotlights the growing threat online to women in media and the perils of failing to protect free and safe speech.

“As part of their day-to-day work, women journalists often face a torrent of harassment, denigration, and threats. The point of this hostility is to silence women, most frequently women of color,” said Soraya Chemaly, director of WMC’s Speech Project. “The onus continues to fall on women’s shoulders as individuals.  Media companies have to develop institutional responses to these threats if they are serious about building inclusive organizations.”

Here are the Status report highlights in traditional print and online-only, radio and television, news consumption, entertainment media and technology, social media, gaming and engineering:

In news media: print and online-only:

  • 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. (Associated Press Sports Editors)
  • Editors of the nation’s 135 most widely distributed newspapers are overwhelmingly male and White. (Columbia Journalism Review)
  • 69 percent of news wire bylines (AP and Reuters) are snagged by men, 31 percent by women; 63 percent of TV prime-time news broadcasts feature male anchors and correspondents; 37 percent feature women; 60 percent of online news is written by men, 40 percent by women; 59 percent of print news is written by men, 41 percent by women. (Women’s Media Center)

In news media: radio and television:

  • A record number of women are employed in TV news, including as news directors, but fewer women and people of color work in radio news. (Radio Television Digital News Association)
  • Women owned 7.4 percent of the nation’s commercial TV stations. (Federal Communications Commission)

In entertainment media: film, TV & online streaming:

  • 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. (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. (San Diego State University’s 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. (Women’s Media Center)
  • 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 14 years. (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)

In tech, social media, gaming, engineering:

  • 45 percent of U.S. gamers were female, reflecting continued, year-over-year increases in female gamers. (Entertainment Software Association)
  • Over a decade, there was no significant rise in the number of female tech workers and Black tech workers. (U.S. Government Accountability Office)
  • 53 percent of women and 16 percent of men said they had been harassed at work. (Women Who Tech)

Click here to read the full report.

About The Women’s Media Center

The Women’s Media Center, founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem, is an inclusive and feminist organization that works to make women visible and powerful in the media. We do so by promoting women as decision-makers and as subjects in media; training women to be effective in media; researching and exposing sexism and racism in media; and creating original online and on-air journalism.