Gender media-wise

October 26, 2015

Gender media-wise

You can probably tell that I am deeply immersed in how gender equality at the C-level of organizations is going to become a strong reputation driver as the war for talent heats up even more, more lists on best places for women to work evolve and women run out of patience. Our report, Gender Equality in the Upper Ranks, certainly found hints that this is the case. As we were releasing the survey earlier this week, a colleague mentioned to me a new hire at the Guardian US. (see below). Again, more proof that Gender is going to be the new “green.” I know that sounds corny but it is true. Here is what my colleague sent me:

Molly Redden will soon be a Senior Reporter covering gender equality at Guardian US. She is currently finishing up as a Reporter in Mother Jones’ Washington bureau. Previously, Molly worked for The New Republic, covering energy and the environment and politics, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Her work has also appeared in Salon, Washington City Paper, and Slate.

Then I came across this scholarly article that looks at the persistent underrepresentation of women in printed news and reinforces why an individual needs to be hired to just focus on getting more ink for women’s issues. Otherwise it is just not going to happen. The researchers found that news coverage essentially favors men and they posit that this is because of the dominance of men in top positions in business and society. The researchers found some evidence (a touch) that greater female representation among section editors and news executives on editorial boards is associated with greater coverage of women, suggesting that greater equality in news-making may bring about a change of culture in the newsroom and increase coverage of women. Having a woman focused on Gender at The Guardian might just help tilt the coverage towards women. It certainly will attract more women readers.

As The Guardian and Fortune (Broadsheet) have noticed, women are interested in women’s stories about succeeding in business and the challenges they face.In our report, we found that over the past five years, there has been steady growth in the number of global media stories about female CEOs. In 2010, Factiva counted approximately 10,486 stories in top-tier global English-language media about women CEOs. We found that each succeeding year until 2014, approximately 5,000 additional stories appeared, until there were 37,432 stories — an increase of almost 300% over just four years. And this increase isn’t limited by geography; there has been increased coverage all over — 54% in North America, 78% in Asia Pacific, and a whopping 115% in EMEA. In Latin America, there was nearly a six-fold increase. The topic of women is starting to become its own content-engine. We can thank Sheryl Sandberg for that.

Let’s hope that having more editors focused on Gender might just help tip the balance in giving women a louder voice now and in the future.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

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