Women in News launches A Gender Balance Guide for media organisations

  • 12-05-2020
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Women in News has developed a practical guide for media organisations to increase gender balance in content. The guide is currently available in English, and in Arabic.

 You can download the full guide here.

In addition, tune into a brand new series of The Backstory, a Media Freedom Podcast from WAN-IFRA in conjunction with Women in News. S3E1, 'Where are the women? Finding gender balance in the news' features Kesewa Hennessy, Digital Editor for Audience Engagement, Financial Times; Vincent Kahiya, veteran journalist in Zimbabwe, and Lead Trainer, Women in News Africa; and Mona Magdy, Senior Manager, Knowledge & Research, Women in News Arab Region.

About the Guidebook

Women in News advocates for a media industry in which women and men are equal. Equal in the way they are portrayed in news content and equal in their professional roles and treatment. WIN has been working towards this goal for nearly a decade, during which time, the issues of equality, safety and respect between men and women have come roaring into the public consciousness through movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp. This momentum has been sustained by brave individuals who have come forward and the dogged work of journalists around the world who continue to cover the topic, exposing injustices and holding perpetrators of inequality to account. 

Paradoxically, we the media industry have played a direct role in perpetuating inequality by excluding women’s voices, stories and opinions in content and using language which stereotypes women. While women represent more than half of the world’s population, they are on average seen, heard and read in the media only 25% of the time. 

Readers are increasingly calling out the media for this practice. In failing to change we risk alienating our audiences, harming our corporate reputations and brands, and negatively impacting our bottom lines. 

Improving gender balance in content can be challenging, however. It takes conscious, thoughtful measures to recognise and dismantle unconscious bias. It takes a concerted effort to begin identifying and including new voices and opinions in our content on a consistent basis. Maintaining that focus can be a strain given the multiple competing priorities and the frequent fire fighting that the media are engaged in today. 

But making the effort to improve gender balance in content can and must be a priority. We hope that this practical guide helps newsrooms and media professionals throughout the world to address the issue head on. We look forward to continuing the conversation and action toward greater equality in our industry together. 

This guide aims to equip media organisations and professionals with the necessary tools and insights to increase gender balance in their content. 

It should help you to: 

- Understand the importance of gender balance in content 

- Identify the different ways in which the media gender stereotypes 

- Understand how to avoid gender stereotyping

- Develop organisational strategies to improve gender balance in content 

- Identify suitable metrics and tools to track their progress 

- Learn from successful initiatives that have been implemented by other news organisations

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