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Women’s Voices Only 14% In Indian Journalism & News Stories, Says Recent Gates Foundation Report

Posted: December 8, 2020

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A recent Gates Foundation report shows underrepresentation of women in journalism in India, and that women were quoted voices in only 14% of online news stories in India.

We are living in a time where discussions surrounding gender equality and women empowerment have gained a lot of prevalence. But, what results do these discussions yield when in reality, underrepresentation of women and discrimination against them still persist in various arenas?

A recent report in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation finds that women are highly underrepresented in Media. In India, the voices of only 14% women were found in online news stories.

Why are Indian women not represented enough in news?

It is no hidden fact that women who work in media and in many other fields face sexism, unequal pay and other obstacles, which hinder their progress, sometimes also culminating in their underrepresentation.

A project initiated by the National Commission of Women titled ‘Status of Women Journalists in Print Media’ found various hindrances affecting women in the print media. Women in journalism have to work twice as hard as their male counterparts, and have to constantly confront the notion that they are using their sexuality to get ahead in their careers, which could be stressful at times.

Ageism has also been reported as an obstacle. Some women journalists report that news organizations prefer younger girls and that once they have acquired skills and experience, they become “too old or over-qualified. “Another notion has also come into play, which says that women have limitations within an organization since they cannot do night shifts.

Other than these hindrances, all of us are aware of the role sexism plays here. Women have to constantly battle between childcare vs. profession while for their male colleagues; it doesn’t come off as a problem. Opting for maternity leave is something women still struggle with at many workplaces.

It is also vital to note that working conditions in urban areas differ from rural areas. The report states that despite not having the scope and facilities of those working in the big metropolitan cities have, women journalists in rural areas have played a huge role in reporting on ‘a much neglected field’ i.e., social issues.

What needs to be done?

The reason why discussions regarding unequal pay or work-place discrimination don’t get the attention they deserve is because people at the top positions and people in general do not consider getting these things resolved as a priority. Rarely do serious discussions and deliberation regarding the issues have taken place at various organizations and outlets.

The Gates Foundation report highlights that in June 2021, Governments, Private Sectors and Civil Society Partners will come together at a common platform in the Generation Equality forum to address critical issues that hold back women and girls.

It is a sincere hope that these discussions yield a progressive result, so that women not only in journalism but in various other fields no longer face the wrath of various obstacles that halt their work and exempt them from telling their stories.

Image source: YouTube

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