Women are inching towards media equality, but it’s slow going. That’s what we learned from the Women’s Media Center’s annual report on the status of women in TV, news, movies, and even social media. Some things are unsurprising, like the fact that women are vastly underrepresented in sports journalism. Other things are more interesting, like the fact that the Melissa Harris-Perry Show has more diversity than all the other Sunday political talk shows combined.
- The highest-paid female movie star, Angelina Jolie, makes about the same per movie as the two lowest-paid male stars, Denzel Washington and Liam Neeson. Her $33 million paycheck is dwarfed by the $75 million Robert Downey Jr. rakes in as the highest-paid movie star for the Iron Man movies.
- Female representation in newsrooms has budged very little since 1999: back then, women made up 36.9% of the newsroom staff– now, it’s 36.3%. The gender disparity is widest among white men and women, and there is slightly more gender equality among different races in newsrooms.
- Women are vastly underrepresented in sports journalism: Of the 183 sports talk radio hosts on Talkers magazine’s “Heavy Hundred,” only two were women. The 2012 Associated Press Race and Gender Report Card gave most of the sports journalism industry straight Fs when it came to gender diversity.
- Women were quoted in only 19% of news articles in January and February of 2013. This follows a pattern of men being 3.4 times more likely to be quoted on the front page of The New York Times, 4.6 times more likely to be quoted in political stories, and 5.4 times more likely to be quoted in international stories.
- Women are faring worse at making movies in 2013 than they were in 1998. Of all the top-grossing movies of 2013, women accounted for only 16% of the writers, directors, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers.
- Women had fewer speaking roles in movies in 2012 than in any year since 2007–only 28.4% of speaking roles in the top 100 films went to women. But on TV, 43% of speaking parts are played by women. Of the women who who did get speaking roles in movies, 34.6% were black, 33.9% were Hispanic, and 28.8% were white. And of all the speaking characters, Latina women were most likely to be depicted semi-nude.
- The Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC has more diversity than all other Sunday news talk shows combined, with 67% non-white guests, compared to the 16% of guests on NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox combined. The gender breakdown of almost all the Sunday political talk shows hovers around 75% male, 25% female.
- Only 33 directors of the 500 top-grossing movies from 2007 to 2012 were black, and only 2 of those were black women. In 2013, women directed 50% of the competition films at Sundance, but only 1.9% of the top-grossing movies.
- Our columnists are still overwhelmingly old white men. There are four times as many male columnists as female columnists at the three biggest newspapers and four newspaper syndicates. (The Washington Post has 25 men to 7 women, and The New York Times has 10 men to 2 women.) The median columnist age is 60, while the median age for the American population is only 37.
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