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).
In this article, we review the findings from our research and consider steps executives in media and entertainment can take to encourage greater equity.