lifestyle

Look at this picture. Can you spot the woman?

By TARA MOSS

Below, I present two fairly random examples of The Age newspaper online, snapped as screenshots.

The first was taken by me on July 17 and the second on July 25.

At a glance, I count over 43 men, one baby boy, two illustrated boys (both ads for the film ParaNorman) and one woman, partially visible behind a male. Oh, and a cockatoo of unknown gender:

And another:

I have no interest in targeting The Age, which I enjoy reading (hence the reason I found these front pages in the first place), and it is significant that these two examples were found on the only days I have visited their site recently, because I have been on holiday.

It is entirely possible that on the other days there were 43 women visible on their front page, and only one partially visible man, standing behind a woman. My snapshots by no means constitute a rigorous analysis of gender in Australian media.

However, Chrys Stevenson’s recent gender breakdown of Australian newspapers does. She found the following:

Stevenson’s findings accord with a number of international studies of mainstream media including a 2012 report by UK’s Women in Media, which concluded the following:

Even on issues specifically pertaining to women’s bodies, women’s voices and opinions continue to be outnumbered. A study by 4th Estate found that 81% of statements about abortion across media covering the 2012 US election were made by men. Likewise a recent study by the US Women’s Media Center also found that men were ‘far more likely to be quoted than women in newspapers, television and public radio,’ even including ‘coverage of abortion, birth control, Planned Parenthood and women’s rights.’

In addition, they found that ‘it will take until 2085 for women to reach parity with men in leader-ship roles in government/politics, business, entrepreneurship and nonprofits.’

Whatever you make of this lack of gender diversity in international mainstream media, or what impacts it might have on social, cultural and political life, one thing is certain – it’s unlikely that we really need to worry about bias against male journalists just yet. (Sorry Mr. Mangos.)

For those interested, Stevenson’s full piece in The King’s Tribune can be found here, and is well worth a read.

On a positive note, it is nice to know that every woman in the world is on holiday. (Apart from Commonwealth Minister for Finance and Deregulation and the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Penny Wong, partially visible behind our male PM in one image.)

Happy holidays, ladies.

This post was originally published on Tara’s website here, and is republished here with full permission.

Tara Moss is a novelist, TV presenter and journalist. Since 1999 she has written and published nine bestselling novels – Fetish, Split, Covet, Hit, Siren,Assassin, The Blood Countess, The Spider Goddess and The Skeleton Key, and been published in 18 countries in 12 languages. Her writing has appeared in Australian Literary Review, The Sydney Morning Herald News Review, The Age, The Daily Telegraph, The Australian and more. She has earned her private investigator credentials (Cert III) from the Australian Security Academy and is currently undertaking a Doctorate of Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. You can visit her website here or follow her on Twitter here.

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