Still Far From Gender Equity in the Media

The Women’s Media Center released a new report that exposes the status of women in U.S. media. The results show that there’s still a need to “hold media accountable for an equal voice and equal participation.” Co-founders Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem feel that the results of the report are “a wake-up call for media makers and media consumers.”

The full report provides recent data on gender and who determines news, literature, television, and film content as well as how women are depicted through these mediums. Results include women comprising “only 18.1% of all radio news directors,” and of the top 250 domestic grossing films of 2011 women were “5 % of the directors, 14% of the writers, 18% of the executive producers, 25% of the producers, 20% of the editors, and 4% of the cinematographers.” Looking at entertainment television, women were only “18% of the creators, 22% of the executive producers, 37% of the producers, 15% of the writers, 11% of the directors, 20% of the editors, and 4% of the directors of photography.”

Robin Pugh Yi and Craig Dearfield emphasize the implications of women consistently being “underrepresented in occupations that determine the content of news and entertainment media, with little change in proportions over time” as well as television and film reinforcing gender stereotypes through characters. The fact is “negative depictions in media have broad societal effects” and “how women are represented in media affects gender equity in general.” Gaining gender equality and the use of accurate depictions of women in the media requires “key stakeholders such as women’s advocacy groups, media professional organizations, and college and university journalism departments to identify media gender equity as a priority and to develop clear and practical plans for achieving it.”

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