Wednesday, June 06, 2012

What Percent Of People Quoted On Women's Issues In Print Are Women?

A friend sent this link from 4thEstate.  

They are looking at 2012 election coverage and how many women are quoted compared to men.    And since we've been hearing about the gender gap in the Presidential race, it would seem to mean that coverage, of at least that race if not many others, is badly skewed. 

It's particularly telling how men are the predominant commenters on issues like abortion, birth control, etc.  It makes me wonder about my own blog.  How many of the sources I cite are male or female generated?  In a lot of cases I just don't know.

A quick look at my Viddler videos shows a lot more male than female subjects.  I didn't count, but I clearly need to pay more attention to the balance. 

They discuss methodology but I don't understand enough to know how to check it.  But even if their data is off by 10%, the imbalance is staggering.  But given my own gender gap here (at least in the videos) I suspect they are pretty accurate.


  1. Steve, this is why you don't get replies! There is so much to discuss here and I can only say we need a real, in-the-room coffee house, some good books and a long morning to bring this to the focus it deserves.

    One shot at it, though. We know the world through what we live, don't we? Stepping outside our affinities of certitude is so very difficult as our species benefitted hugely from creating allegiance between unrelated individuals.

    It didn't take god to make us myopic with the stranger.

  2. Huh? I might add to my earlier post.

    I see I conflated my reply to your admission to being a member of the Boys' Club and an op-ed in today's ADN about patriarchy. Too much on my mind when I wrote my reply, but my thesis stands: We benefit (or not) from world view created and enforced by associations of family, friendship and 'tribe'. It takes conscious effort to see above that.

    I think of the MP I have gotten to know as we've discussed marriage equality here in the UK. He's a leading light of the opposition to same-sex marriage in this country and he doesn't see how Church of England history and Christian faith can square with LGBT people marrying as the sexes 'complement' one another (what I call the 'parts is parts' argument to human culture).

    He and I suffer from a profound distance in experience, but not so much distance in cultural training. How he may or may not understand my shift, through experience, to something outside our common heteronormative cultural script is what separates us.

    He squarely trusts the institutions and learning he gained growing up in this country. I, as an outsider (and immigrant), may not.

    His views and mine are but one small version of this larger reliance you speak of -- that we all unconsciously adopt our habits of culture while we grow up yet some may need to consciously rethink those habits by experience and learning.

    This perhaps is at the heart of why some cleave to cultural continuity on the one hand and cultural change on the other. And why each certainly knows who speaks the truth that cannot unite us.

  3. Jacob, Thanks for the clarification. But I agree with your thought in the first comment - we need to sit in a room together and talk back and forth so we can keep each other on track. Perhaps we're due for a skype session.

    I'm still thinking about what you dubbed my "boys club membership." I orignally made a quick scan of the last ten videos on my Viddler account, and looked at the ones that had thumbnails with a face showing. There were three men and one women. But after your comment I've looked more closely.

    Three were short videos of men talking to the camera - a mayoral candidate and assemblyman on election night, and the Redistricting Board's attorney.

    One - 20 minutes, probably longer than the other nine together - was a woman, the former Deputy Clerk in charge of elections talking about how elections were run.

    One was a panel discussion with two men and one woman - you can hear the woman but one of the men answered my question directly.

    Two are of musical performances - one focused on a man, an opera singer, but also on a mixed children's choir he worked with. The other was a recital with a friend's daughter playing the piano.

    Two had animals - a hike which showed a friend and his dogs, and then two moose in the back yard (one was the mother.)

    The most recent one was a male astronomer giving a talk on the Venus transit.

    I might do a whole post on this and how we pick our subjects. I'll look at more videos and try to figure out why I pick the subjects I picked. For instance, at the film festival, I chose to focus on animated films in competition. One of seven had a woman listed as a director. I got videos of six, including the female director and another female who worked on the film with her director husband. How much is bias on my part? I don't know.

  4. It is delightful to see this here. Thank you.
    I grow weary of media quoting men on women's rights issues just as I grow weary of media quoting white people on Native issues and so on.
    Devices of style in reporting also contribute to the disparity in voice in the endless lopsided attempt-to-report-both-sides routine.
    I think maybe there is a distinct difference in looking at your own work here across non-gender related subjects and this report's focus on gender related issues.
    Alaska pi

  5. Follow-up on racial diversity:


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