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Women as Thought Leaders

The Daily Beast published a story last year with statistics that showed women being quoted 1 in 5 times on woman's issues.   The article continued with stats on news shows showing a very similar picture.    The Daily Beast

I haven't been able to find similar statistics for South Africa, but am not convinced it would be very different.

Are we just not being asked?  Or don't the media know who to ask?  Are the women with expertise not high profile enough or is it simply that with less than 20% of corporate top jobs in the hands of women, the statistics are aligned with the reality?

How does it change?   Social media has to be one of the ways forward.   With the ability to put opinions out into the ether, surely the media (and the world at large) will note that women have a point of view on matters beyond celebrities, beauty and fashion.   And may I add that enjoying the aforementioned does not drive business, economics and politics out of your head, there is space enough for a variety of interests in every woman's remarkably diverse brain.....   After all, intelligent men enjoy boxing and wrestling!   OK, I know some women do, too, but there are also men who love fashion.

The comment below is from an article by Trevor Butterworth, and is interesting in that before Big Data there was no way of a definitive result, and now we find that what many assumed is actually true.  Loved the term malestream media, by the way!

The Bristol-Cardiff team, on the other hand, looked at 2,490,429 stories from 498 English language publications over 10 months in 2010. Not literally looked at—that would have taken them, cumulatively, 9.47 years, assuming they could have read and calculated the gender ratios for each story in just two minutes; instead, after ten months assembling the database, answering this question took about two hours. And yes, the media is testosterone fueled, with men dominating as subjects and sources in practically every topic analyzed from sports to science, politics to even reports about the weather. The closest women get to an equal narrative footing with men is—surprise—fashion. Closest. The malestream media couldn't even grant women tokenistic majority status in fashion reporting. If HBO were to do a sitcom about the voices of this generation that reflected just who had the power to speak, it would, after aggregation, be called "Boys."

It is not about being quoted, but about having an impact.   The 30% Club, shortly to be launched in South Africa, is aimed at getting a minimum of 30% women on boards and in senior positions.   One of the core concepts is that you only have a real voice as a group if there is 30% representation.   So it stands to reason that if women are getting 20% or less of media time, the voice of women is muted.

Trevor Butterworth
30% Club
Bristol / Cardiff Media and Gender Study
www.accsys.co.za/news


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