A new study has revealed that five out of every six names that appear in the news or other forms of media are those of men.
In the study, researchers at Mcgill University combed through data from more than 2,000 U.S. newspapers, magazines, and online news sources covering the period from 1983-2009 for the first time to arrive at this conclusion.
Despite significant social and economic advances in many fields, there remains a persistent and telling under representation of women in media coverage, something that they refer to as a ‘paper ceiling.’
Lead author Eran Shor said that the media focuses nearly exclusively on individuals at the top of occupational and social hierarchies, mostly CEOs, politicians, movie directors, adding that because these famous individuals account for most of those named in the news, there continues to be a big gap between the mentions of men and women in the overall media coverage.
The researchers were surprised to discover that women’s presence was no greater in news produced by liberal American media organisations than in that produced by conservative ones.
Shro said that the large majority of the people mentioned in news, business, and even entertainment articles were men, adding that the great majority of directors, producers, comedians, and other prominent people in the entertainment industry were men, and most high-revenue movies still had more main male characters than female characters.
Shor concluded that the resulting dominance of men as subjects of public and dinner table conversation might reinforce and normalise in the minds of audiences the notion that power and newsworthiness were something men had and, apparently, deserve.
The study is published in the Journal American Sociological Review.