Newsmaker? Odds are, it isn't a woman
By Li Xing (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-01-09 05:38
Women are not shown to be holding "half the sky" as they make up only a
fifth, or 19 per cent, of newsmakers in leading national and local news media
reports, according to a survey released over the weekend.
Men account for more than 90 per cent of newsmakers who are government
officials or business leaders, according to the survey conducted by the Media
Monitor for Women affiliated to the Capital Women Journalists Association.
The public hardly hear the voices and opinions of women, the survey revealed
men dominate the news also as experts and representatives of public opinion by a
margin of 9:1.
The ratio of women exceeded men only in such news categories as health,
social services, childcare and performing arts.
The survey is part of the Third Global Media Monitoring Project, which is
endorsed by the United Nations Development Fund for Women and the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The previous two global surveys, conducted in 1995 and 2000, highlighted the
persistent lack of women in news media, with female newsmakers accounting for 17
and 18 per cent respectively.
The full global results of the third round, in which more than 70 countries
participated, will be made public on www.globalmediamonitoring.org on February
In the latest survey, members of the Media Monitor for Women in China
examined reports from 17 television and broadcast stations and eight newspapers
on February 16, 2005.
"The results show that despite the percentage of women media workers rising
steadily, news media in China urgently need to improve their own awareness of
gender equality," said Cai Yiping, a leading co-ordinator of the survey.
The news media have yet to play a facilitating role in creating an
environment where men and women enjoy equal access to politics, economic and
natural resources and equal opportunities in employment, education and
healthcare, among other things, Cai said.
In fact, the media have not effectively changed the stereotype that women are
inferior to men and that their place is at home, said Liu Bohong, researcher and
deputy director of the Chinese Women Studies Institute.
For instance, in her studies of advertising in the media over the years, Liu
found that women appear mostly at home or in shopping malls or stores.
"Even when women are placed in workplaces, they do not actually work but are
shown taking care of, for instance, their hair," Liu pointed out.
In contrast, men represent power and expertise in most commercial
advertising, she said.
(China Daily 01/09/2006 page1)