Ugh, Yet Another Boys Club? Men Outnumber Women in Election Coverage

by Kaitlin Cole

A new survey released by the Women’s Media Center (a non-profit organization founded by Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and Robin Morgan) revealed that roughly three-quarters of the presidential coverage in newspapers is written by men.  The survey included well-known papers such as The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others.  From January 1 to April 25, 76% of articles were written by men, and from April 16 to August 25, 72% of articles were written by men.  

We already know it’s not ideal when a bunch of male politicians are making decisions about women’s bodies (President Obama has also recognized this issue), but it seems the problem of women being underrepresented goes even further. Women’s Media Center President Julie Burton said, “In this so-called ‘Year of the Woman,’ this study just goes to show that when it comes to presidential elections it’s still a ‘boys on the bus’ world.”  If men are writing the majority of the articles, it’s unlikely that the articles will accurately represent the audience.

The American Society of News Editors’ Newsroom Employment Census revealed that 62% of newsroom reporters are men.  As women’s rights continue to be a hot button issue in the upcoming election, it’s unfortunate that there aren’t more women writing and reporting about it on a mainstream level.  It’s unclear whether this is an issue of news sources not hiringmany women or a lack of women interested in reporting on these issues (the latter seems pretty doubtful).  If the person writing about a political issue is also directly affected by it, it makes sense that female readers or viewers would be more likely to pay attention and respond to it.  This is especially important when something monumental, like a presidential election, is occurring.  Considering women make up more than half of our country, we need a stronger voice in our newspapers and newsrooms.

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