How Can We Make News More Inclusive and Gender Diverse?

The lack of gender diversity and the gender gap in the newsroom has had an underrepresentation of women

Due to the significant gender imbalance in the journalism profession, women are still underrepresented in newsrooms and the news itself globally. With each high-profile editorial announcement of a woman in news leadership, the idea that there is no longer a gender gap in newsrooms around the world gains ground. But behind the surface is a much more troubling reality.

Recent studies that concentrated on six nations, the UK, Nigeria, India, South Africa, Kenya, and the US, offer a picture of the persistent systemic underrepresentation of women in a field that is dominated by men. Increasing the gender diversity of the news has a number of advantages, including increasing audience trust and the financial success of news companies. The recent paper investigates the exclusion of women in the journalistic profession, particularly women of colour.

The research offers a number of recommendations that would help develop a number of issues, from fostering audience trust to making news organisations more profitable, in addition to highlighting the industry’s lack of gender diversity.

News executives frequently think that recruiting more women or people of colour will help to address the problems with representation and inclusion inside news organisations. However, recruiting more women of colour is a crucial first step, but it is insufficient, according to the senior editors I spoke with in my interviews.

Three main obstacles to including women in news leadership positions were discovered through interviews with editors from around the world. The first is, of course, their underrepresentation. The second is the pervasive gender bias in news assignment that favours men for high-profile, “hard” news like politics and business and views women as better suited for editors of “soft” news like health and education. The third obstacle is the alleged dearth of adequate assistance for women’s job advancement.

Change must be deliberate on the part of organisations at all structural levels. Just pleading with employers to hire more women is insufficient. It is essential to do a gender audit of the entire news value chain prior to developing the strategy as this can help identify the issue areas.

It must be deliberate to consistently increase awareness of how underrepresented women are along the entire news value chain, taking into account the percentage of women in newsrooms, news leadership, newsgathering, news outputs, and news consumption. Creating a gender plan that works with the organization’s broader news strategy, can be accomplished.

For any news platform to be relevant over time, inclusive content must be offered. The amount of news that attempts to highlight the differences between men and women, which are widened among people of colour, has to be covered by media outlets. The research also emphasises the value of adding a “gender lens” to all stories, allowing for the expression of both women’s and men’s perspectives, in order to guarantee that news coverage is inclusive to all audiences.

To find fresh angles for stories, news leadership teams should think about implementing weekly editorial meetings with a variety of participants. They can also launch newspaper pull-outs and newsletters that feature stories pertinent to female readers.

The survey claims that compared to the other six countries it looked into, women of colour are more marginalised in news leadership in the UK. In addition, despite having the greatest percentage of female editors in economics/business (60%) and health (71%) among the six nations, women of colour continue to be disproportionately underrepresented in the news media.

The New York Times team did just that, and we need editorial leadership teams in the UK and the US to address the underrepresentation of women of colour, take action to bring about change, and be upfront about their findings.

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