Women made up just 21% of news sources: study

Kaitlyn Offer
(Australian Associated Press)


Women made up a measly 21 per cent of sources in Australia’s major newspapers, a new study has revealed.

In new figures released on Wednesday, analysis of more than 6000 articles across six News Corp and Fairfax Media mastheads by the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia found women are significantly under-represented as sources and experts.

Women were most frequently quoted on subjects relating to children, Nauru and foreign policy.

Male sources were most frequently quoted on topics about the ASX, profits, China, tax reform and investors.

Women were least likely to be quoted in business (13 per cent) and finance articles (14 per cent).

The analysis also found the most quoted sources were “spokesman” and “spokeswoman” – typically for the federal government.

Institute executive director Amy Mullins said men were traditionally seen as authorities on subjects, especially in business, finance and politics.

“Elevatingwomen’s voicesin themediawillgoalongwaytowardsshiftingtraditionalgendernormsandexpectationsof whataleaderlookslike,” she said.

In a statement to AAP, a News Corp spokeswoman says the company “is committed to representing the communities we operate in and championing positive change on their behalf.”

“The topics we report on are varied and gender balance and diversity is something our reporters are aware of and is an important part of our newsroom philosophy,” she said.

Newswire service AAP provides editorial content for all surveyed mastheads.

Editor Mike Osborne said AAP talks to various experts in various fields based on their knowledge and areas of expertise, and makes no judgment or preference based on gender.

“AAP’s only concern is to the quality of the information,” he said.

Articles dissected were published between February 1 and 21, when federal and state parliaments were sitting and common topics included half-yearly company reports, tax reform, asylum seekers and offshore detention, and the child abuse royal commission.

The Women for Media Report 2016 was launched on Wednesday evening at Victoria’s Parliament House with Small Business Minister Philip Dalidakis and follows similar research from the Institute in 2012 and 2013.

Fairfax Media editorial director Sean Aylmer said: ” Our journalists actively seek diverse comments on their stories. The more voices the better. ”


– The Australian Financial Review 15%

– The Australian 16%

– The Sydney Morning Herald 23%

– The Age had 24%

– The Herald Sun 28%

– The Daily Telegraph 30%.

(Source: Women for Media Report 2016)


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