Bridging the gender gap in Canadian news

The news continue to portray a world in which women are barely present. Following research evidence from the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP), the gender gap in mainstream news has narrowed by only seven (7) points across two decades. Currently, women make up on 24% of the people seen, read about or interviewed in the news. Gender biases persist in digital news platforms, with women making up only 26 percent of subjects and sources in stories published or tweeted by mainstream Internet news media.

The Canadian organisation Informed Opinions has launched a campaign that seeks to change this picture. The “What Gets Measured Gets Done” #WGMGD campaign aims to bridge the gender gap in news and information media by 2025. The campaign will monitor performance of influential news media, publish scorecards, celebrate leaders and engage citizens in holding media accountable.

The campaign responds to a recent study which found that male sources account for almost three quarters of all persons quoted in Canadian news, a finding that mirrors the Canadian edition of the GMMP. Underrepresentation of women closes the space that women have to participate equally in discourse taking place in the public sphere. Negative or stereotyped media portrayal contributes to a culture of discrimination against women and of impunity for gender-based violence.

What Gets Measured Gets Done echos the End News Media Sexism campaign developed by the GMMP global network in 114 countries. The End News Media Sexism campaign seeks to remind news media of their obligation to observe fairness, balance, accuracy, non-discrimination and other tenets of professional practice from a gender equality perspective.

Learn how you can participate actively in the campaign here.

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Advancing gender equality in media

In my opinion, the most effective strategy to achieve gender-sensitive media is:

Increased gender-awareness training of media professionals
Greater action by audiences to hold their media accountable
Stricter enforcement of gender-focussed media codes and policies
More female journalists, editors and media house managers

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