In conjunction with audience strategy consultancy AKAS and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, MEAG completed research on the presence of women in the news for calendar year 2019. This work was in support of key commitments of BMGF’s gender equality in news initiative:
- Use of Women as Sources of Expertise
- Stories Leading with Women Protagonists
- Coverage of Gender Equality Issues
Based on BMGF priorities, MEAG centered analysis on news coverage in six predetermined countries of focus: India, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Findings from these commitments indicate that there is much room for improvement to achieve gender equality in news media globally. Overall, women are quoted and featured in headlines less than 30% of the time. Further, coverage of issues related to women’s equality accounted for less than 1% of news stories in 2019.
However, stories in the theme of Science and Health and the theme of Art and Media were more likely to have quotes attributed to women and headlines featuring women. The main driver of news coverage to the issue globally was International Women’s Day, demonstrating the importance of such commemorative events as press drivers. National policy changes, such as the ban on “Triple Talaq” (Islamic instant divorce) in India also drove coverage to the issue of gender equality.
In general, the United Kingdom performed better on the commitments than the other nations studied, ranking first in two of the three commitments studied. Conversely, India ranked last among all nations in two of the three commitments.