A primary reason behind this gender imbalance is that in the cases where the majority of quoted sources were men, they were experts in fields that were dominated by men overall.
“Despite progress, the upper echelons of the worlds of politics and business – perhaps our two biggest coverage areas – continue to be dominated by men,” said Phil Corbett, associate managing editor for standards at The New York Times. “Technology, academia and top-level sports are not much better. As long as that gap exists, there will be a discrepancy in our coverage as well.”
Unconscious gender bias from journalists could also be at play. Because male sources are what we have always seen depicted in the news, it has become a norm to assume the ‘experts’ in many topics are going to be men.
But there are a variety of tactics the media can utilize to combat gender imbalance.
For one, diversity and inclusivity go hand in hand. If more women or minorities wrote and broadcasted news, there would be a greater chance of more women or minorities being represented as sources.
Another tactic would be for journalists to actively begin thinking of gender bias when gathering sources. What’s the topic of the story about? Is it gender-specific? If not, why are we only seeing one type of person quoted?
Journalists are supposed to do their best to accurately represent society. The news covered by journalists doesn’t just tell people what to think about but has the power to influence how people perceive news, which is why it’s so important to include both men and women – and minorities in general – in media quotes.
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