Why We Need More Female Journalists

Why We Need More Female Journalists

The rise of technology has made it incredibly easy for the average citizen to become a journalist. People around the world who continue to have access to computers, smartphones, and Internet can tell the stories of what they see in their day-to-day lives. This is even possible for those living in developing countries, and encouraged in the most advanced.

The Global Press Institute, formerly known as the Press Institute for Women in the Developing World, is designed to bring journalism training to ambitious, driven women across the world. It gives these women access to their own publication and news service to bring quality content to readers globally. The driving force behind such an initiative is a desire to see women tell the stories from their own corner of the world, bringing what happens around them to the forefront of media attention.

According to the “Impact” section of the San Francisco-based nonprofit’s website, the institute provides news on “topics that are often misrepresented or ignored.” In doing so, not only are people exposed to a variety of stories, the writers’ works catalyze change in their own communities, whether at a grassroots or legislative level. Additionally, they note that their work helps women in third-world countries reinvest it in their own communities, strengthening the conditions of the world that they live in.

The lack of women in media, even in technologically advanced countries, has become a hot button issue in recent years. According to a 2014 study by the Women’s Media Center, men largely dominate the field of broadcast journalism, and claim more bylines in print media at the most widely circulated newspapers in the U.S. They also dominate news topics like world politics, crime, and technology, while women have near-gender equality with men on topics like health, lifestyle, and education. This split is interesting to study, and makes some wonder why there aren’t a proportionate amount of women covering such topics.

When comparing adult workers to the high school and college levels, I can only speak to my own experiences – having attended as a student and volunteered as a counselor for a journalism workshop (and knowing many other students who have done the same at other journalism camps and high school press conferences), the gender equity is split, if not even leaning towards having more girls than boys attending these events. The same can be said (equal, if not more) about my school’s two news publications, along with our literary magazine and radio station. Of course, while I can only definitively speak for my school’s publications, a quick browse of other college publications say similar things.

Will we finally begin to see a change in bylines at The Washington Post and New York Times? Will it tip the scale from 69% men and 31% women, to an equal balance of genders churning out premium content in all subjects? Here’s to hoping that organizations like the Global Press Institute continue paving the way for female journalists to do so in the future, bringing stories internationally right to your physical and digital doors.

Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.