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"Men Quoted More Often Than Women in News Stories About Women's Issues, Study Finds"

July 2, 2012

The study, covering from November 2011 through April 2012, was done during a time period where news on Susan G. Komen for the Cure stopped funding Planned Parenthood, Rush Limbaugh made remarks about advocate Sandra Fluke and when Democrats' charged conservatives with wagaing a "war on women."  During this time, researchers analyzed around 50,000 quotes from 35 different print sources and used the transcripts of 11 network news program.

The study revealed men were four to seven times more likely to be quoted in stories

The researchers analyzed about 50,000 quotes from 35 print sources and the transcripts of 11 network news programs.  The study covered November 2011 through April 2012 -- a time period that included news on Susan G. Komen for the Cure's defunding of Planned Parenthood, Rush Limbaugh's remarks about advocate Sandra Fluke, and Democrats' charges that conservatives were waging a "war on women."

The study found that men were four to seven times more likely to be quoted in stories on certain women's rights issues, such as abortion (Farhi, Washington Post, 6/25).  Meanwhile, women were quoted 12% of the time on stories about abortion, 19% of the time on stories about birth control and 26% on stories about Planned Parenthood, according to the study (4th Estate infographic, 6/25).

Michael Howe, a spokesperson for 4th Estate, said the findings suggest that reporters might have an "unconscious bias" that leads them to believe "men have more authority on a topic than women do."

Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, said, "When Congress is only 17% female, when women are 3% of the CEOs and only 15% of [top corporate executives], you don't have critical mass."

She also said that "media decision-makers" bear some responsibility, adding, "Frankly, there's no excuse for [news staffs] not to be half women and half men."  In 2011, women accounted for 40% of TV news staffs, 22% of radio news staffs and 37% of daily newspaper staffs, according to journalists associations.  However, the most senior positions in news organizations predominately are held by men (Washington Post, 6/25).

 

This news article was published by the National Partnership for Women & Families.  It only refelcts media coverate of women's health issues and does not necessarily reflect those of the National Partnership for Women & Families.

 

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