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Communication lecturer Kathleen Cross

Women still lack ‘presence’ in news: study

November 18, 2010

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Despite some gains, women are still significantly under- represented in news coverage worldwide, including Canada, says SFU communication lecturer Kathleen Cross, the Canadian lead on new research by the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP).

“The world seen in the news media remains largely a male one,” says Cross, with females comprising only a quarter of the people heard or read about globally, according to the research, which was conducted in 108 countries.

The results were moderately better in Canada, where Cross found that 30 per cent of news subjects were female, up from 21 per cent five years ago.

But less than nine per cent of stories had women as a central focus and knowledgeable experts were predominantly male.

Men were also three times more likely to be found in stories on politics and government as well as entertainment, arts and sports.

Internationally, the project monitored 1,365 newspapers, television and radio stations and Internet news sites, 17,795 news stories and 38,253 persons, representing 82 per cent of the world’s people.

In Canada, Cross monitored seven major newspapers, six television and five radio newscasts, including 279 stories and 695 persons in the news.

The report, Who Makes the News? The Global Media Monitoring Project 2010, was released in Arabic, English, French and Spanish, along with the Canadian National Report and numerous other regional and national reports.

The 2010 report contains a plan of action for media professionals and others committed to gender-ethical news media.

The GMMP is the largest and longest running research and advocacy initiative on fair and balanced gender representation in the news media.

To view the Canadian report, visit http://at.sfu.ca/MFDZxV; for the full report, see http://at.sfu.ca/SOwNCM or visit: whomakesthenews.org.

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