The ladies of America are not leaning in, at least not in media.
There are few bright spots for female representation in the latest survey by the Women’s Media Center, a report that compiles findings from various studies. In virtually every field of media, from film directors to journalists, women are not represented nearly as often as men. Even Angelina Jolie, Hollywood’s highest-paid female actor, got paid about the same amount as some of the lowest-paid male stars.
Women also don’t serve as sources for news stories as often as men do. During a two-month window, men were quoted 3.4 times more often than women in New York Times front-page stories, according to a University of Nevada (Las Vegas) analysis. Female reporters quoted male sources more often as well, but the disparity was smaller.
Then there are the Sunday political talk shows. Most of their guests are still white and male. The American University Women and Politics Institute found that nearly three-fourths of the talk-show guests are men. Even though a record number of women are serving in Congress, they still make up only 18.5 percent of the two chambers. So some of the lack of gender diversity on screen has to do with the fact that white men have disproportionately been elected to office.
“The average person flipping through the channels on Sunday morning will be left with the quite accurate impression that politics is an area dominated by men’s voices,” the institute’s director, Jennifer Lawless, told WMC.
That’s bad news for people invested in politics, regardless of party. Women make up more than half of the American population, and since the 1980s, female voter turnout is higher than male turnout. The arena of politics may be dominated by men’s voices, but women are the ones more likely to cast ballots.