Where are all the ladies at? Even though women make up approximately 51% of the population, we are stilled underrepresented in the media, not only in front of the camera, but even more so behind the scenes. Men dominate the media, both in front of the camera and especially behind the scenes in positions of power and ownership.
According to the Women’s Media Center’s annual report of the status of women in the media, men account for a whopping 83% of content creation/ownership positions (writers, directors, producers, editors, etc.) in the film and television sector, while women make up a mere 27% of these roles. In print media and news coverage, the underrepresentation of women is also evident. Men accounted for about 62% of all content written in the top 10 newspapers in the country, leaving women with only about 38% of the articles written.
It’s no wonder why the media’s general representation of women is so skewed; the majority of our narrative is being told from the perspective of men (older white men to be exact)! How can we be fairly and accurately portrayed in the media if our story is controlled by and told from the perspective of those who don’t live it or understand it? In order for the prevailing gender inequality problem in the media to improve, we are going to need more women in positions of power and ownership in the media. We can’t influence our narrative if we don’t have a say in how our story is told or how we are portrayed.
Women’s Media Center, created by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem, is an organization that is striving to make the media more inclusive for women and to more fairly represent women. The organization aims to accomplish this by first educating the industry and the general public of the issue because no problem can be solved if it is not recognized and understood as an issue in the first place. As people are made aware of the problem at hand, they will be better equipped to make more conscious decisions that will lead to the much needed change in the media's representation of women, and these changes will eventually result in changes in how our society views and treats women.
“Inequality defines our media. Media tells us our roles in society – it tells us who we are and what we can be”. -Julie Burton, President of the Women’s Media Center.