About Our Research

At Women in Journalism we believe that the media has to be a reflective mirror of society, not a distorting lens. If the journalists reporting and the editors/producers making the decisions are unrepresentative of the audience they serve, then distortions will inevitably result. Over the last 25 years we have seen huge strides in the representation of women in our industry although the current situation is by no means perfect.

 We regard informing and leading the debate by researching major issues of concern to our members and our industry as a key part of our remit – most recently with an analysis of the front pages of all the major newspapers, which revealed the differences in the way men and women are written about (and photographed) by the press; and how many of the main news stories are written by women journalists. 

While progress has been made since – there are now five female editors of national newspapers – this research also revealed that across all the papers, the backbench – which decides where stories are placed and how they are presented – was an almost entirely male preserve. 

Our latest project published in September 2020, investigated the lack of ethnic and gender diversity in leading national news print and broadcast outlets. In 2016 a study published by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and City University of London found that UK journalists were 94% white. We believed little had changed since. Sadly, we were right.

Over the course of a week in mid-July, to monitor Black BAME and female voices our researchers read the front page of every major newspaper, watched daily prime-time news shows on leading TV channels and listened to around 100 hours of prime-time radio news coverage. The results of this snapshot were shocking.

When it comes to the intersection of race and gender the situation is worse. Not a single Black woman journalist had written an article on the front page of any of the newspapers during the monitored time period (no Black men had either), and just one Black woman was quoted as an expert.

We also approached the Managing Editors of newspapers and producers of all the outlets we monitored asking them for their own figures on diversity. At the time of publication we have not received any numbers.

Eleanor Mills, WIJ chair

We are very grateful to TESCO for support in funding this project

Read More Of Our Research

Exclusive: New Research By WiJ Reveals Shocking Lack Of Media Diversity Across Newspapers, Radio & Television

September 16th, 2020|Comments Off on Exclusive: New Research By WiJ Reveals Shocking Lack Of Media Diversity Across Newspapers, Radio & Television

In the aftermath of the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests, all parts of the media have promised to become more representative of the communities they serve. At Women in Journalism [...]

The Tycoon and the Escort: the business of portraying women in newspapers – September 19th, 2017

November 8th, 2019|Comments Off on The Tycoon and the Escort: the business of portraying women in newspapers – September 19th, 2017

September 2017:  Report by Eleanor Mills, Kate Hind, Aine Quinn Researchers: Megan Baynes, Caitlin Doherty, Jessica Frank-Keyes, Emily Hawkins, Sara Lovejoy and Evie Prichard Introduction: The media is the mirror that society holds up to [...]

Am I Bovvered?: What are teenage girls really thinking? – September 18th, 2007

September 5th, 2018|Comments Off on Am I Bovvered?: What are teenage girls really thinking? – September 18th, 2007

September 2007 Report by Fiona Bawdon    Introduction: ‘Am I bovvered? What are teenage girls really thinking?’ was originally the idea of WiJ founder member Ginny Dougary, who first suggested an event to explore what [...]

The Lady Vanishes – At 45. Autumn 2010

February 9th, 2018|Comments Off on The Lady Vanishes – At 45. Autumn 2010

The Lady Vanishes – At 45 BY ALEXANDRA CAMPBELL Life may begin at 40, but for women in the workplace “old age” begins at 45, according to a pilot study on working women and [...]

Why is British public life dominated by men? December 5th, 2011

February 9th, 2018|Comments Off on Why is British public life dominated by men? December 5th, 2011

(Guardian 5/12/11) Kira Cochrane, WIJ committee member In a typical month,78% of newspaper articles are written by men, 72% of Question Time contributors are men and 84% of reporters and guests on Radio 4′s Today show [...]

Real Women – The Hidden Sex: 1999

February 9th, 2014|Comments Off on Real Women – The Hidden Sex: 1999

Real Women – The Hidden Sex HOW NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS USE PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES OF WOMEN IN EDITORIAL A report from Women in Journalism by Meg Carter, Mimi Turner and Maureen Paton with research by Publicis [...]

The Cheaper Sex – July 1998: sponsored by TESCO

June 16th, 2000|Comments Off on The Cheaper Sex – July 1998: sponsored by TESCO

July 1998 Report by Mary Ann Sieghart and Georgina Henry    Introduction: Women in Journalism commissioned MORI On-Line to conduct an in-depth telephone survey of the background, views and employment of 537 men and women [...]

Chaps of both Sexes – June 1997

June 5th, 2000|Comments Off on Chaps of both Sexes – June 1997

June 1997 Report by Linda Christmas  Introduction:  Chaps of Both Sexes gives us some new understanding about communication and the changing role of women. It builds on the discussions in our recent Eve and Adam [...]