WAN-IFRA Women in News launches A Gender Balance Guide for media organisations

Women in News has developed a practical guide for media organisations and professionals with the aim of equipping them with the necessary tools and insights to improve gender balance in content.

by Simone Flueckiger | May 12, 2020

The guide, which showcases practical advice, organisational strategies, and case studies, is currently only available in English, but an Arabic version is coming on 31 May, 2020.You can download the full guide here.

The media industry has played a direct role in perpetuating inequality by excluding women’s voices, stories and opinions in content and using language which stereotypes women.

Readers are increasingly calling out news organisations for this practice, which, in failing to change, risk alienating their audiences, harming their corporate reputations and brands, and negatively impacting their bottom lines.

“Ensuring gender balance in content is not just a moral responsibility but a financial one,” says Melanie Walker, Executive Director, Women in News.

“Women are more likely to read content in which they see themselves reflected, and yet they are only seen, heard or read on average 25% of the time. Especially now, when we are relying on the media to tell us the facts about our health and safety – perhaps more than ever! – it is important that every voice is represented.”

Improving gender balance 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 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.

“We produced this guide so that journalists, newsroom leaders, HR managers and anyone else invested in bringing about positive change has a ready reference,” Walker says.

“The challenge in promoting gender equity is huge, so it’s vital every person in the news team knows how they can make a difference.”

The practical guide will help newsrooms and media professionals throughout the world to address the issue head on. Women in News looks forward to continuing the conversation and action toward greater equality in the industry together.

This guide 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

Click here to download the guide

The Backstory, WAN-IFRA’s Media Freedom podcast, addresses the same topic in its just released edition.

Women in News (WIN), an initiative by WAN-IFRA, aims to increase women’s leadership and voices in the news. It does so by equipping women journalists and editors with the skills, strategies and support networks they need to take on greater leadership positions and editorial influence within the industry. In parallel,

WIN partners with media organisations to identify industry-led solutions to close the gap between men and women in their newsrooms, boardrooms and in the content they produce.WIN is currently working with more than 90 media from 15 countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab Region and South East Asia (SEA).

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