When and where to start?
So you’re interested in including the gender lens in your work? We’ve been there.
There is no one way to start producing more gender-balanced news, no perfect roadmap. But we thought we’d put together a sort of starter kit that we would’ve loved to have ourselves when we first began.
Bonus: It comes with valuable advice from top-notch journalists!
A fancy term used to refer to journalism that tries to pay attention to gender at all stages of reporting. This does not mean only interviewing women on what is considered “gender issues.” The idea is to represent men and women’s perspectives, no matter the subject at hand — whether it has to do with politics, the economy, science, technology, the climate crisis… or anything else, really. It’s also about taking into consideration how one’s gender may affect one’s life in our societies. For example, it might take you a bit more time and effort (and possibly a different approach) to convince an economist to be interview if she’s a woman.
It seems like the most obvious step to take, but we all know it can be tough: to easily find sources who are women, and to keep track. Luckily, these days there is a growing number of databases indexing experts. We’ve put together a list of all those that we know (feel free to shoot us an email or a message if you know of any that we didn’t mention!). We also have a list of grassroots initiatives and organizations for you. Maybe it’ll spark some ideas, and help save you some time.
As for keeping track, take it from a Pulitzer-winning journalist like Ed Yong who has done this for years: it can be as simple as opening a new spreadsheet and writing down, for every story, how many men and women you’ve contacted, how many got back to you, and how many you’ve actually featured in the story.
Gender balance isn’t just about the people we interview, but the questions we ask them and how we present them, from the words we use to describe them to the images we show of them. “I do think as a journalist, you have to kind of think about how you frame the story. You know, is the woman always presented as the victim? Do we interview women in conjunction with their husbands somehow?” The devil’s in the details, and that’s where you’ll catch glimpses of unconscious gender bias.