The lack of female voices in the media

| June 14, 2012 | Comments (0)

With the 2012 elections heating up, media coverage intensifies as well. But while men and women may have equal access to the print and broadcast media, research shows that women’s voices are stifled when it comes to getting quoted for their insights on such hot campaign issues as the budget, economy, education, foreign policy, national security, healthcare, and taxes, among others.

The 4th Estate from national broadsheets, radio, and television broadcasts
for the past six months and analyzed them. They found that “men are much more likely to be quoted on their subjective insight in newspapers and on television….” As an example, the survey found that “in front page articles about the 2012 election that mention abortion or birth control, men are 4 to 7 times more likely to be cited than women.”

The gender gap in media extends to the Internet. In a paper for the Capstone Project entitled Amplifying the Female Voice in Online Political Discourse, Megan N. Smith found that even if both sexes have equal access to the Internet and participate in political discussions through online forums and blogs, a disparity still exists “between the genders discussing politics online.”

A 2008 survey conducted by Extra! showed that even at the Huffington Post, only 23 percent of the featured blog posts during the nine-week study period belonged to women. The entire study can be found . The 4 th Estate proclaims: “This gender gap undermines the media’s credibility.”

But there are organizations working to equalize the playing field to get women’s voices heard above the din. By training women to write more effective op-ed pieces, the OpEd Project aims to “increase the range of voices and quality of ideas we hear in the world” starting with women. In Canada, a similar project also works to empower women to enable them to “efficiently and effectively share their valuable knowledge with the broader community.” hopes that through their workshops, more female voices will be heard in Canadian opinion media.

Tags: broadcast, election 2012, , presidential election, radio, television,

Category: Women in the World

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