This paper analyzes the state of gender equity in the American news media industry today. Sadly, many of the challenges we will describe are not new. In fact, the disservice done to society by the exclusion of women from the reporting of news was raised as early as the 18th century by women suffragists and women’s rights activists in North America as well as Europe. Women first brought a gendered analysis of the mass media to the global stage in the 1970s, when a multipart critique was presented at the 1975World Conference on Women in Mexico City, which opened the UN Decade for Women. Conference speakers stressed the importance of the global mass communications media to “change stereotyped attitudes of men and women” and “eliminate discrimination against women,” and the published report exhorted the mass communication media to “inform the population about new roles for women and their struggle for equity with men” (United Nations, 1975).
Having a diverse legal profession positively impacts the administration
of justice, ensures fairness, and promotes the rule of law. The mandate
to promote a diverse and inclusive legal profession is central to the State
Bar’s mission of public protection. The State Bar advances this aspect of its
mission in part by collecting, analyzing, and presenting data on California’s
licensed attorneys through an annual attorney census. This first annual
report card uses census data to provide a clear picture of the state of the
profession from a diversity and inclusion standpoint.
As the report card reflects, the profession has become increasingly
diverse in recent decades, with newly licensed attorneys better reflecting
California’s rich and varied demographics. However, much work remains.
The analyses below highlight areas of the legal profession where the
greatest opportunities for improvement exist. A Call to Action follows to
encourage employers and attorneys to influence and advance an inclusive
workplace that supports a more diverse workforce.
The numbers sum it up. Your organization will become less diverse, not more, if you require managers to go to diversity training, try to regulate their hiring and promotion decisions, and put in a legalistic grievance system.
The very good news is that we know what does work—we just need to do more of it.