New Coalition Aims to Combat Lack of Gender Diversity in News

Davos, Switzerland – January 23rd, 2019 – Globally, only 24% of people heard, seen or read about in newspaper, television and radio news are women and only 19% of experts sourced in news stories are women (according to the Global Media Monitoring Project, 2015 Global Report). These alarming rates have changed very little in two decades. Today, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, United for News, a global multi-stakeholder coalition of media, private industry and NGOs, is announcing pilot programs in Canada, Iraq and Ukraine to address this unacceptable deficit. 

Women are unseen for their expertise and relevance in the conversations that inform and shape our daily lives. At the same time media is undergoing a crisis in trust worldwide. From the boom in disinformation operations to the imminent spread of misinformation online, readers don’t know where to turn for balanced, objective news. This has dire consequences for the media industry’s ability to inform the public, hold governments to account and support healthy communities and economies. Changing this deficit will help build trust in the news media, by making news more reflective of the communities it serves. 

United for News is working on the demand side to provide newsrooms with the resources necessary to increase the number and frequency that female subject matter experts are sourced in stories. On the supply side, the coalition is working to raise awareness around the issue and provide support for women experts to step forward. 

In 2019, United for News will pilot programs and test approaches in Canada, Ukraine and Iraq. In Canada, a committee of top newsrooms will launch a collaborative process, building on best practices and testing solutions that will significantly amplify women’s authoritative voice. In Ukraine and Iraq, Internews will test approaches based on a series of tools pioneered by United for News members. The approaches will be adapted to the needs of the local newsrooms, working in a way that respects cultural challenges and constraints while maintaining a clear goal of raising women’s voices. 

“When women’s authoritative voices make up only 19% of the global conversation, we all lose. We lose diverse opinions, new ideas, sources of insight and creativity and, most of all, powerful role models for the next generation to build on,” said Jennifer Cobb, Director of United for News. “Our members are working together to address this massive gap, pooling their experiences and insights from a wide range of perspectives. We believe this is a powerful step forward that can have lasting impact and encourage newsrooms everywhere to join us in this endeavor.” 

United for News is led by the international non-profit, Internews, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. Coalition members advising this work include Bloomberg, Edelman, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN IFRA), the BBC’s 50:50 Project and the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD). 

Sign up to learn how you or your organization can be involved or for updates on the initiative, or contact us for more information. 

About United for News 

United for News is a non-profit, mission-driven coalition founded by Internews in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. The coalition includes a diverse range of stakeholders from across the media and advertising industries with a shared vision of a world where everyone, everywhere has access to the trusted information they need to make good decisions for themselves, hold their governments to account, and achieve their human potential. 

United for News understands the factors excluding women experts from media are complex and cannot be solved by newsrooms alone. Achieving parity for women’s voices requires the coordinated intervention of a diverse set of stakeholders – from media to the private sector, academia and the NGO community. To this end, United for News seeks the collaboration and commitment of partners across the globe. 

Join Us! Sign-up to learn how you can be involved. 

Notes to Editors

United for News members offer global leadership for these issues:

  • Through their New Voices program, Bloomberg has developed tools and best practices for news editors and staff across their newsrooms to diversify their sources
  • Edelman lends insights from their Global Women’s Executive Network, through which they provide career mentorship to advance women into leadership roles across their organization
  • WAN IFRA’s Women in News program offers best practices from their work helping newsrooms in Africa, the Middle East and Asia tackle gender inequality
  • The 50:50 Project, a grass roots program helping reach gender parity in programming across the BBC and beyond, has developed simple and effective benchmarking and tracking methodologies
  • The Global Forum for Media Development helps incubate these ideas through their global women in media working group, bringing together expert practitioners from around the world
  • Internews, which provides capacity-building support to media partners in more than 60 countries, has run programs supporting diverse voices in news and newsrooms for more than 35 years in a wide range of cultures and geographies
  • United for News is led by Internews in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. The project is part of the World Economic Forum’s Shaping the Future of Information and Entertainment System Initiative.