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Women experts significantly underrepresented in Australia’s newsprint media

By Women's Leadership Institute Australia | December 7th, 2016

Carol-PanelPledgeNew research from the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (WLIA) shows that women are significantly underrepresented as sources and experts in the Australian newsprint media, with female sources representing just 21 per cent of all commentary.

The Women for Media Report 2016 analysed over 6000 articles across six major print publications – The Australian Financial Review, The Australian, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Herald Sun, and The Daily Telegraph – between 1 February to 21 February 2016.

The report was launched this evening at an event at Parliament House with The Hon. Philip Dalidakis, Victorian Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade. The event was co-hosted by WLIA and the Minister to promote the importance of gender balance in the media and on panels.

Key findings include:

  • Women account for just 21 per cent of sources directly quoted in news articles
  • The Australian Financial Review (AFR) (15 per cent) and The Australian (16 per cent) featured the lowest proportion of women directly quoted
  • The Herald Sun (28 per cent) and The Daily Telegraph (30 per cent) featured the highest proportion of women directly quoted
  • Women were least quoted in articles on business (13 per cent) and finance (14 per cent), whilst they were quoted most in articles on health (41 per cent), education (39 per cent), and social issues (39 per cent)
  • Overall, female journalists quoted female sources in greater numbers than their male counterparts (27 per cent to 17 per cent, respectively)
  • Male sources were most frequently quoted on topics relating to the ‘ASX’, ‘profits’, ‘China’, ‘tax reform’, and ‘investors’
  • Female sources were most frequently quoted on topics relating to ‘children’, ‘China’, ‘foreign policy’, ‘murder’, and ‘Nauru’
  • Overall 21 per cent of opinion editorials on politics were written by women. Of this, just five per cent were written by female ‘guest’ authors – those not employed as journalists or regular columnists by the publishing newspaper

WLIA’s Founding Chair, Carol Schwartz AM said, “There is no shortage of highly qualified women available to speak across all news topics. Our newspapers and media coverage should reflect the diversity of Australian society, its leaders and its consumers.”

“Not only is it more interesting to hear a diverse range of views but studies show that gender balance gets the best outcomes. Our public discourse is all the poorer for it when women’s voices aren’t heard,” said Schwartz.

WLIA’s Executive Director, Amy Mullins said: “Traditionally, men have often been seen as the ‘authority’ on topics in the media, particularly in business, finance and politics. Elevating women’s voices in the media will go a long way towards shifting traditional gender norms and expectations of what a leader looks like.”

“Women make up 50 per cent of the population and our news coverage should reflect that,” said Mullins.

“We have seen recent successes in the broadcast media with the Mornings with Jon Faine show on 774 ABC Melbourne achieving gender balance in its guests. They have shown that it can be done, but it needs to be seen as business-critical, with strategies put in place to achieve it,” said Mullins.”

“Gender balanced news coverage creates visible role models for both men and women to look to,” said Mullins. 

Other findings

  • All publications featured relatively low levels of female representation in business news – female sources quoted in business articles ranged from 11 per cent in The Australian to 23 per cent in The Daily Telegraph
  • Where a source’s position contained the words, ‘CEO’, ‘Founder’, ‘Executive Director’, or ‘Managing Director’, just 14 per cent were female
  • Where a source’s position contained the words, ‘Analyst’, ‘Economist’ or ‘Strategist’, just nine per cent were female

About the Report

The Women for Media Report 2016 is an extensive analysis of the gender balance of sources and experts quoted in the Australian print media over a three-week period, from 1 February 2016 to 21 February 2016. The ‘opinion’ sections of the same publications were analysed over the full month of February 2016.

The Women for Media Report 2016 is unique in its breadth and depth of gender analysis for both news and opinion articles in the Australian newsprint media.

Over 6000 articles were analysed across six major Australian newsprint publications from February 2016 – The Australian Financial Review, The Australian, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Herald Sun, and The Daily Telegraph.

The research encompasses all articles from the general news, business and related news, finance news, and ‘opinion’ sections of each newspaper. This excludes designated arts, lifestyle, entertainment, sport, and world sections, as well as magazines and lift-outs.

About Women for Media

Women for Media (www.womenformedia.com.au) is an online database and network of Australia’s top female leaders in business, finance, the not-for-profit sector and government. It provides journalists and conference organisers with direct access to the contacts of leaders available to speak, in order to reduce barriers to achieving gender diversity of sources and experts.


WLIA works with Faine show to achieve equal media airtime for women

By | October 31st, 2016

Our Executive Director, Amy Mullins, spoke to Jon Faine on the ‘secret project’ which was undertaken by ‘Mornings with Jon Faine’ Producers Dan Ziffer and Harriet Lonnborn (with a little help from WLIA) to ensure women get equal airtime.

The show went from featuring 33% female voices per week, to 50% female voices just three months later.

WLIA applauds Ziffer and Lonnborn for the great achievements they have made – showing that achieving gender balance is possible when there is commitment and action from those in a position of leadership and influence.

Further coverage on the project:

The Age, Our secret project to give women equal media airtime

ABC News, Faine show reveals secret project to give women equal airtime


The secret project to give women equal media airtime

By Daniel Ziffer | October 25th, 2016

This article was originally published in The Age on 25 October, 2016.

zifferThere aren’t enough female voices in the media – as presenters, as experts, as people considered newsworthy.

We started a secret project to fix it.

Concerned about the small number of female voices on-air, as hosts, regular guests and callers, I contacted Amy Mullins from the Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia, an organisation trying to fix the gender imbalance in visible and significant positions.

The WLIA website allows you to directly contact over 200 women executives, leaders and thinkers across a broad range of industries and disciplines. These women have put their hand up to speak in the media and on conference panels.

Producer Harriet Lonnborn and I met Mullins, who detailed some of the ways that women are excluded from the national conversation: quoted less frequently in the news, writing only a fraction of the opinion pieces printed in newspapers (yes, I am aware this isn’t helping) and appearing less frequently on TV and radio as experts.

Running the ”Mornings with Jon Faine” radio program we decided to do what we could in our tiny corner of the media world to change things.

We’d never really counted what the gender ratio of our guests was, so we set ourselves the obvious target of 50 per cent of female guests on-air.

Easy, we thought.

The first day was … terrible. We had just one female voice out of 11 guests. That’s 9 per cent.

The first week was 33 per cent overall – the same ratio as the months before we started our project.

It didn’t take long to work out why: we’re starting every day behind.

Our host is male. Of our long-standing regular weekly guests, just six of 15 are female. Their fill-ins are pretty much the same ratio.

Of the popular irregular guests, the Premier, Opposition Leader, Lord Mayor, Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, the heads of the public transport system, road network and emergency services all are male.

So for other experts we used the institute’s website, contacts at universities and our most useful tool: pleading.

A consistent issue was the propensity of capable, storied women to defer our enquiries to similarly-qualified men. Chief executives suggested their chair would be a better spokesperson, doctors with decades of experience would say they were unqualified to talk about a sector of their specialty

Mullins explains that this reticence isn’t about a lack of belief.

“Research shows it’s just not the case that women are less confident in themselves than men,” she said. “They are however, less confident that others will recognise and be receptive to their capabilities – and in the context of media – that they’ll be seen as credible or expert sources.”

A further issue is that seeing women in expert positions is still, astonishingly, a surprise.

“We are quite used to seeing men as an ‘authority’ on topics in the media, but less so for women. Elevating women’s voices in the media will go a long way to shifting traditional gender norms and expectations of how women, and men, should act. And that has positive effects for everyone,” Mullins adds.

It’s a long road, but one worth jogging down.

Next time you’re stopped at the lights, peering down the road at a bus stop or avoiding old magazines in a waiting room, look around.

What you’ll see is modern Australia: an amazing and harmonious mix of men and women from here and around the world. According to the last census, more than a quarter of Australians are born overseas, and another 20 per cent on top of that have a parent born overseas.

Few media organisations are hitting the mark on representing our community to the degree they should, so any steps to improve that will help.

Our project to get more female voices on air was just a start.

We were able to add exciting new voices across the broad range of fields we cover and our show now better represents the community it serves.

We want everyone to be a part of the conversation and in a recent week, just three months after we started, 50 per cent of our voices were female.

You know, like society.

Daniel Ziffer is senior producer, Mornings with Jon Faine, 774 ABC Melbourne. These are his personal views.

 

Further coverage on the project here.

Categories: Women for Media

How to use the Women for Media database

By Women For Media | July 1st, 2015

The Women for Media database is located on this website at www.womenformedia.com.au

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For information and guidance on how to use Women for Media, please download the following PDF guide: How to use Women for Media

Categories: Women for Media

The 30% Club launches Women for Media UK branch

By Women's Leadership Institute Australia | May 20th, 2015

New UK database, based on Australian initiative, connects journalists to female leaders in business, finance, government and not-for-profit sectors who are available for media comment

HelenaMorrissey-WFMlaunch20th May 2015, London – The 30% Club has today launched Women for Media UK, a database of female leaders in business, finance, government and not-for-profit sectors who are available for media comment on key topics of the day.

The database directly connects journalists to these experts with the aim of raising women’s profiles and visibility throughout the media and beyond, as well as providing journalists with easy access to senior female thought leaders.

Women for Media UK is a program based on the founding initiative Women for Media which was established by the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia in 2012 and continues to increase the visibility of Australia’s most senior female leaders as thought leaders and experts in the media.

The launch of the UK database was held in Central London and was attended by over 60 female leaders and journalists from across a broad spectrum of disciplines and media forms, including national publications, magazines and blogs.

Helena Morrissey CBE, CEO, Newton Investment Management and 30% Club Founder, opened the launch with a welcome speech and was then joined on a panel discussion by Madison Marriage, Financial Times journalist; Carola Hoyos, Recruitment Editor at the Financial Times; and Emma Ross-Thomas, London Bureau Chief at Bloomberg News.

Speaking after the panel, Helena Morrissey said: “Having more women speak up in the media on a wide range of topics is an important aspect of the 30% Club’s continuum of change towards a society where a mix of men and women at all levels is just seen as the norm.”

“We very much hope that this database, which has been carefully created with the Australian founding initiative and which will continue to grow, will help solve that, and be useful for both journalists and women looking to build their profiles,” Ms Morrissey said.

Speaking on the Women for Media UK launch, Carol Schwartz AM, Founding Chair of the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia and prominent company director and philanthropist, said: “We are very pleased to have partnered with Helena Morrissey and the 30% Club to bring Women for Media to the UK.”

“This is an important issue globally and with the launch of the UK branch we hope to see the number of senior female leaders commenting in the media grow and the benefits of diverse thought leadership in public discourse flow from that,” Ms Schwartz said.

UK Women and Equalities Minister Nicky Morgan said: “Women make up just over half of the population. A House of Lords inquiry earlier this year found that men interviewed as experts outnumber women four to one on radio and TV. This means that they are seriously under-represented on our media channels.

“This database from the 30% Club will make it easier for the media to find female commentators on a wide range of topics, not just those considered to be ‘women’s issues’.

“We all benefit when the opinions we hear reflect the society we live in and I look forward to seeing and hearing from more female role models.”

The Women for Media UK initiative forms part of the 30% Club’s continued campaign to get 30% women on FTSE-100 boards by end 2015 – currently 23.6% up from 12.6% in 2010. The database aims to address the current under-representation of female voices in the media by providing journalists with an easy to access database of women who are willing and well qualified to contribute to public discourse in the media.

For more information, please contact:

Amy Mullins, Executive Director, Women’s Leadership Institute Australia: +61 3 9653 5316 or info@wlia.org.au (Founding Women for Media initiative)

Jamie Brookes: (+44) 020 3128 8529 or 07769 900 417 (Women for Media UK)

Georgina Whittle: (+44) 020 3128 8528  30percentclubpr@mhpc.com