“Male voices and perspectives eclipse female ones, even in coverage of women’s reproductive issues”
A new study has revealed that more than half of stories relating to reproductive health are written by men. “When it comes to stories about abortion and contraception, women’s voices are systematically stifled – as writers and as sources,” said Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center. Going further she added that “Since women play a greater role in reproduction, it would make sense for women to be the majority of the sources and authorities in its coverage.”
The Women’s Media Centre in their study ‘The Gender Gap in Coverage of Reproductive Issues’ have revealed an alarming array of findings! Namely, that 52% of issues discussing reproductive healthcare, including contraception and abortion are written by men. This is compared to just 37% of women writing alone on reproductive health matters. Furthermore, after analysing 1,385 news stories published by the twelve of the highest-circulating social media sources, quotes produced by men also outnumber those penned by women. The report reveals how men are also more likely to include interviews with other men in their reporting of this area. There is also a conflict of interest in that men describe reproductive health as a “political issue” rather than matters of “health” a term most women have expressed that they prefer.
Unfortunately, the under representation in the social media has continued in this area and persisted across the board in terms of subject matter. WMC found that just last year, women only created 37% of news stories that actually went to print. Men dominated coverage in almost all areas including technology (62%) science (63%) World politics (64%) with US politics at a staggering 65% . Unfortunately, WMC’s most recent findings were released at a time when increasingly damaging anti-abortion rhetoric was being employed as well as political stunts aimed at preventing and restricting women’s access to forms of contraception. The study also serves to highlight a serious gap in accurate reporting on reproductive health, one of the most important issues affecting women today.
For more information on this pressing issue please visit the Women’s Media Centre and also Media Watch.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts on this area… How do you feel about men dominating health care coverage with regard to reproductive issues? Naturally, I feel that increasingly more women should be reporting on what the study states is one of the biggest areas that affects women’s lives. The question is… how do we go about creating change on what is proving to be an unfair, bias and problematic area? Ladies and gents, I would love to hear from you and so please do drop me a line.