Ending the Boys Club Media Monopoly Through Quotas in the Newsroom

Directors of media organizations from twenty-five countries met last week to discuss the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Global Report on the Status of Women in the Media which found, not surprisingly, a large gender disparity in newsrooms around the world. The report found that in the 522 global companies surveyed, women represent only a third of the full-time journalism workforce and only one-quarter of the senior management roles in news media. Additionally, it found that men hold the majority of the seats on governing boards (74.1%) and in top management (72.7%) across seven regions. In the United States, while women account for 41% of the overall news media workforce, less than a fourth of those in top management and only a third of those in governance level roles are women.

Among the strategies discussed at the International Women Media Leaders Conference, enforcing hiring equality through the imposition of quotas emerged as the most popular way to “level the playing field.” In a panel discussion at the conference, Ines Pohl, the first woman to head a German national newspaper, stated “we have a strict quota for each section,” adding that female leaders should be more visible to inspire younger generations.

Several studies have shown that the adoption of affirmative action policies have led directly to an increase in racial and gender equality in the workplace. By imposing a quota in newsrooms worldwide, women will be given the opportunity to become visible leaders in the field. According to the International Women’s Media Foundation, “The IWMF believes that there can be no full freedom of the press until women have an equal voice in the news-gathering and news dissemination processes.”

In the US, the majority of the media is owned by five major companies which own 95% of the media that we consume every day. With an already limited media perspective, we can at least hope for female inclusion in the boys club media monopoly.

This post was originally published by the Women’s Media Center.


Related Stories:

Why Women Are the Big Prize of Social Media

Someone Tell The Times That Women Like Politics, Too

The Women of Egypt: A Strong, Defiant Force


Photo courtesy of smallritual via flickr
written by Samantha Smart, a blogger for the Women's Media Center


Marilyn L.
Marilyn L7 years ago

Carole H thank you. Sent you a star and if I could have sent you ten I would have.

I am 67 years old and I can tell the boys still haven't grown up. Discrimination? You bet your sweet ass.

James J.
James J.7 years ago

Must be nice to be able to blame what's between your legs rather than what is above the neck if you don't get ahead like you want to.

monica r.
monica r7 years ago

Well, there are females on Fox news lying just as capably as the men.

What needs to change, and this won't do it, is lying presented as fact in the news.

I got a job once not from a quota, but a little "system". Prior to it, I got passed over by people less qualified. As a person who has competed favorably on my abilities in male-dominated fields, it would have felt WAY better to get (or not get) the job on my merits, and not just cause I was (or wasn't) "next in line".

timothy m.
timothy m7 years ago

nothing like a little reverse discrimination...

Carole H.
Carole H7 years ago

While scrolling down the comments hoping to find some intelligent and interesting commentary I must admit I was somewhat amused to find that what I read instead was a lot of little boys bleating about 'oh poor us' - oh how unfair quota systems would be - and how unnecessary - after all 'woman are less successful in the workplace because they are more focused on kids and other factors!' - and oh wouldn't that mean that women might be employed under the quota system regardless of their ability - well 'Phillip call me naive' yes Phillip I will call you naive, the only reason quota systems have to be unfortunately introduced is precisely because for years and years and years, up to and including the present day, some groups in this case women, although you bring up race as well have been systematically discriminated against in society, including in the workplace, and yes unbelievably Phillip that has meant that (white) men of lesser ability have been given jobs that more qualified and able people in these others groups should, on a level playing field, have been given. If you cannot see the truth of this then niave is probably the politest term I can use to desribe you. And if anyone does not believe that prejudice exists against working women you only have to look at the content of some of these comments to see that it is still alive and kicking and exhibiting the usual schoolboy smutty humour 'oh working women - must mean strippers 'nudge ,nudge, wink, wink' grow up boys -

Marianne C.
Marianne C7 years ago


You're missing the point. People of lesser skills and abilities are being hired NOW because of their gender. Their gender just happens to be male.

To everyone else:

The above isn't because no smart, competent, talented women applied. It's because the hiring mechanism is still male dominated, & hiring a smart, competent, talented woman with good skills does not fit neatly into the self-fulfilling prophecy that women can't hack it in media. Or journalism. Or engineering, or medicine. Or whatever traditionally male field into which smart qualified women are not being hired because men don't want to compete with qualified women.

I don't like quotas, either, but they are sometime necessary. If a quota is mandated, the best & brightest women stand a better chance of being hired, simply because management can't take the chance of filling, say, a third of their job openings with brainless bimbas. They'll be forced to hire for competency & talent out of self defense.

White males have never been in the position of being discriminated against because of their racial or gender profile. During most of the history of this country, the hiring of white males was not merely custom or tradition, but was legally mandated. Women & minorities were legally barred from education & professional employment. Thus, no group has ever benefited from affirmative action as much as has the white male. There are still plenty of them who don't want to surrender

Nancy Roussy
Nancy Roussy7 years ago

Affirmative action is crap! Jobs should go to the persons who deserve it based on their capability of doing the job in question not based on the sex, race, or whatever else! Everybody that are for women rights should be against this! How women getting jobs that they do not deserve exactly helps women? How giving equal pay to women who do not go through the same training as men to get a job or/and work less time as the men or/and have more vacation time as the men or/and do not do the same work as the men is helping women?

Will W.
Will Will7 years ago

I am against quotas since they are institutionalized discrimination favoring one group against another. I also find it interesting that those who favor the quotas only want it one way. Quotas for black students in universities but not for whites in basketball. Quotas for women in science, but no quotas for men in daycare or nursing.

I also don´t believe that there is some kind of conspiracy against hiring and promoting women. women and men have different interests and aspirations which result in differences in their participation in the workforce. Women are less successful in the workplace because they are more focused on kids and other factors in their lives.

Robert R.
Robert R7 years ago

"For the female of the species is more deadly than the male". ~~ RUDYARD KIPLING, English writer (1865 - 1936)

Geraldine H.
Gerri Hennessy7 years ago