I remember it well. Katie Couric replaced Dan Rather. At a reported $15 million a year, Ms. Couric won the coveted, solo evening anchor slot on CBS’ Evening News. A glass ceiling was broken and then ABC would follow suit with installing Diane Sawyer at the helm.
Prior to this, women simply didn’t deliver the evening news except to fill-in. But alas, there’s another glass ceiling right behind that one that has yet to be shattered – the voice of women sharing critical opinion in the media. You would think this a simple hurdle. This is where my thoughts are on the 100th International Women’s Day.
- Women are now 50% of the workforce.
- Women still only make on average 77 cents to every dollar men earn.
- Women are underrepresented in business, politics and technology.
I’m passionate about the pursuit and support of female pundits. The spoken and written word in the media is the most powerful way to usher in the transformation that needs to take place to alter the above statistics. That’s why I chose to feature the work of The Women’s Media Center this International Women’s Day. The organization is focused on making women visible and powerful in the media. (Twitter handle: click on WMC)
I’ve been in television news for more than two decades and it’s only been in the last few years, since the work of the WMC, that I’ve started to see a change in the pundit makeup on the news talk-show circuit. Just a glance at the statistics of women in the media tells a sorted story.
- Women only hold 3% of clout positions in mainstream media.
- On the national Sunday morning talk shows male guests outnumber females by about four-to-one.
- Fewer than 25% of op-eds are written by women
- 24% of people interviewed in news are women
Under the WMC umbrella are a number of resources on punditry through a female lens. For example, SheSource.org. This on-line brain trust of female experts is designed to amplify women’s voices. Over 500 women are named in this database and they can weigh in on any topic that is currently making headlines, from the alleged recovering economy to the war in Afghanistan to the workplace conflict.
And The Women’s Media Center also provides an educational portal, Progressive Women’s Voices – an intensive media training program to help pundits become more savy in their presentation skills for broadcast media.
There is a long way to go toward parity. But I did find a refreshing read today on Mashable by Zachary Sniderman – How to use social media to support International Women’s Day. Kudos.
A quote from his post illustrates the need for gender parity in media.
It’s a time not just to celebrate the achievements of women worldwide but to raise questions about discrimination, equality and basic human rights.
To raise questions triggers discussion and public discourse. We need more women in media to do that on the issues important to us. The following video debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. It offers a snapshot on the lack of parity for women in media. Straight to the point. Don’t you think?