“Fake news threatens democracy as does news that does not consider the equal voices, perspectives, and experiences of over half the population.”
The voices of women matter. But the fact is they are not represented equally in the news. Look at any study in recent years of who reports and writes the news, who is quoted as an authority in the news, and whose views and expertise are amplified in the opinion pages across our country and you will see there is still a significant gender gap. In the media’s depiction of the world, it is, sadly, still a man’s world.
“In Canadian news and information, men’s voices still outnumber women more than 2 to 1,” states an infographic released last month by Informed Opinions, an Ottawa-based, non-profit organization dedicated to “amplifying women’s voices for a more democratic Canada.”
A 2016 study of the gender of sources used in Canadian media reports found women accounted for just over a quarter of the sources quoted in the news. The Toronto Star scored slightly better with 34 per cent of female sources quoted in that sampling of its news stories.
“When women’s voices are absent, their realities are not reflected,” says Shari Graydon, the founder of Informed Opinions. “Our failure to fully benefit from women’s expertise is costing us — socially and economically.
“For public policy to be effective, it has to be based on data and intelligence that reflects women’s unique experiences and insights.”