The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation commissioned the award-winning evidence-based storyteller Luba Kassova to write the report. Extensive study was conducted in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The paper examines gender parity in journalism leadership, production, and coverage.
Socioeconomic and patriarchal systems have traditionally constrained women’s admission and advancement in society and the workplace. However, the news media give a unique example of gender prejudice. This is especially true due to the obstacles and dangers that the modern media landscape poses to female journalists.
Across media platforms, organizations, and national contexts, gender disparity research is limited and inconsistent. This means that the influence of gender on the organization and content of the news media is not addressed.
In the six countries surveyed, women continue to be grossly underrepresented in editorial leadership and news coverage. In a male-dominated business, their voices are omitted from molding public discourse. Ensuring a greater presence of women’s voices in the news media will transform not only the sector, but also the national dialogue.
When women oversee news material, it tends to be more gender-sensitive and representative, according to other studies. Women journalists are also more likely to challenge gender stereotypes, bring up issues of gender inequality, and cite laws or policies that promote gender equality or human rights.
The “From outrage to opportunity” report focuses on solutions, which is a positive aspect. It argues that the gender gap in news intake must be addressed. This presents a revenue opportunity worth billions of dollars for the beleaguered global news sector. The paper says that if the gender gap were closed and women were more represented in the news media, the business might experience exponential growth in female audiences. It is estimated that bridging the consumption gap between men and women might produce as much as $83 billion over the next decade.
Women continue to face patriarchal and sexist attitudes, as well as hostile or nonexistent policy contexts, on a global scale. These factors contribute to the fact that women in the media face uphill fights to reach the highest levels of the industry.
The dearth of women in senior editorial positions and on corporate boards remains a barrier to gender equality. Only 22% of top editors are women, according to research by the Reuters Institute at Oxford University that analyzed leading media outlets in 12 countries across four continents. In the South African news media, certain encouraging developments have been observed. 46% of senior management jobs and 36% of top management positions are held by women.
In most nations, including South Africa, there is still a salary disparity between male and female journalists. Additionally, research indicates a rise in the harassment of female journalists via social media. Women journalists are disproportionately targeted by so-called cyberbullying.
The situation is particularly grave for women of color. According to the “From outrage to opportunity” report, women of color in South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States are marginalized or completely excluded from journalistic leadership posts.
If women of color were represented in senior positions proportionally to their percentage of the working population, their numbers would be three times greater in the United States, 2.2 times higher in South Africa, and 1.2 times higher in the United Kingdom. In South Africa, people of color constitute the majority.