Economy in the News: Why Is It a Man’s World?

09/01/2023     2 min read     By Ahlem Khattab

Want to dig deeper for good data and stories? Every month, the Towards Equality provides you with interesting sources around one theme to help you get started.

Business and finance are the least inclusive sections in the news, data shows. To go beyond the numbers, here are two global reports that get into the why, as well as how media outlets can provide a more representative picture of reality. Plus, an inspiring Canadian initiative around gender bias monitoring.

On economic journalism

Since 1995, the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) has been keeping track of how women are represented in the news, and shares its findings every five years. It is one of the main research projects on gender in journalism. In 2020, the GMMP published a book about the causes and consequences of gender (in)equality in the media, with a chapter specifically about economic journalism.

Edited by economist Sarah Macharia, “Gender in economic journalism: Impeccably accurate or smoke and mirrors?” is full of comprehensive data (they even give a percentage of the news stories challenging gender stereotypes) and analysis. It’s a must-read. It also delves into the disparities between women’s place in economies and their representation in the news.

On inclusion in news leadership and coverage

In November 2022, the London-based agency AKAS published the third edition of its Missing Perspectives report. This time around, it went even further than previous years. In five parts, the author, Luba Kassova, examines gender representation in the news and the newsroom with an intersectional approach. She goes over data from different sources, and explains the larger context thanks to interviews with journalists, editors, and researchers from projects such as the GMMP and the Gender Gap Tracker. For a focus on business news, you can head to page 168.

The report also considers possible solutions and studies initiatives put in place by different media outlets to make their reporting more inclusive (p. 101-119, p. 189-205).

Measuring gender bias

This initiative by the NGO Informed Opinions and Simon Fraser University analyzes news posted online by six major Canadian media outlets and turns it into data on gender representation. The tool is very flexible. It allows visitors to view data over the time period of their choosing, and offers an overview of how often men and women are quoted in stories per topic

For instance, in December 2022, five out of those six news organizations, business and market events were “male prominent” to different degrees. Only one outlet, The Star, was near the 50/50 mark with a very slight “female prominence.”

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