Until last year, if you hadn’t been following the feminist blogosphere, you might not have known much about women. The mainstream media by and large neglected to cover “women’s issues,” or consider how the news of the day might affect women, or quote equal amounts of male and female sources. In the UK, the major dailies still make a lousy showing, according to an informal tally by Kira Cochrane of the Guardian in her recent piece “Why is Britain’s public life dominated by men?”
At the end of the month we averaged all the daily percentages and the results were: the Mail, 68% male bylines, 32% female; the Guardian, 72% male, 28% female; the Times, 74% male, 26% female; the Daily Telegraph, 78% male, 22% female; the Daily Mirror, 79% male, 21% female; the Sun, 80% male, 20% female; and the Independent, 84% male, 16% female.
Stateside, many of the female writers I know and I also do informal byline counts every time I open up a paper or magazine. By and large, we remain unimpressed. Katha Pollitt argues that the solution is more female editors. Is she right?
In my first post for the FT’s Women at the Top blog, which ran last month, I looked at the explosion of content focused on women at mainstream media organizations, with a brief rundown here:
Bloomberg News has doubled its quarterly number of women-focused stories since the last quarter of 2010 and published 2,000 stories on women in total over the past year; the International Herald Tribune launched its Female Factor series in early 2010; the Wall Street Journal maintains a Women in the Economy column linked to an April 2011 conference of the same name; Newsweek/The Daily Beast has expanded its Women in the World column (full disclosure: I edit their related Women in the World Foundation site); the Economist will include a Women and Work special report in its November 26 issue; the Washington Post announced it is soon launching a women’s blog; and the Huffington Post launched a women’s site, HuffPo Women, in August this year.
Most of this comment is authored by women (more bylines!) and much of it is edited by women: Tina Brown, Arianna Huffington, Alison Smale of the IHT, Caroline Howard at ForbesWoman, and Lisa Kassenaar at Bloomberg. Another journalist pointed out to me that Pearson, which owns the FT, is headed by a woman, CEO Marjorie Scardino. Click here to read the whole post, and please weigh in with your thoughts on why the mainstream media seems to have discovered women all of a sudden.