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Tackling the underrepresentation of women in media


By Aneeta Rattan, Siri Chilazi, Oriane Georgeac, and Iris Bohnet

Around the world, women are far less likely than men to be seen in the media. As subjects of
stories, women only appear in a quarter of television, radio, and print news.

In a 2015 report, women made up a mere 19% of experts featured in news stories and 37% of reporters telling
stories globally.

As behavioural scientists studying women’s underrepresentation in the workplace, we know that this gender-imbalanced picture of society can reinforce and perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes. It is clear that the media must change how it reflects the world – but who can change media itself?

For over two years, journalists and producers across the BBC have been tackling the gender
representation issue by rethinking whom they put in front of the camera, with the goal of
achieving 50:50 gender representation every month.

Started the effort

“Outside Source”– Ros Atkins’ nightly primetime news programme that started the effort in 2017 — took its representation of on-air contributors from 39% women to 50% within four months.

Today, 500 BBC shows and teams have joined the so-called 50:50 Project. In April 2019, 74% of the English-language programmes that had been involved in 50:50 for a year or more reached 50%+ female contributors on their

In Kenya, several media houses have also put in measures to ensure more qualified women not only get jobs but also hold senior positions in the industry.

The recent revamp of KBC Channel 1 is an indication of the same as the organisation revealed more women, both veterans and newbies in the industry, as part of their new team.


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