By Ariel Dougherty
1 August 2019
The failure of the feminist movement to tackle changes in public media policy may be one of the most significant shortcomings of my generation. Take these few facts as proof. According to a report from the Global Media Monitoring Project by Margaret Gallagher entitled Who Makes the News?, the percentage of women in newsmaking roles stagnated at 23% from 2005 to 2015. And the output from media that focuses on women? Even more dismal. According to the report, “Across all media, women were the central focus of just 10% of news stories – exactly the same figure as
in 2000.” And just a few more statistics to get your hair standing on end: women only directed 8% of the top 250 grossing films in 2018, and women-directed films reach just 2.75% of screens in the U.S.
Challenging the image of women was a founding goal of the National Organization for Women in 1966. A year later, more radical women raised addressing media stereotyping of women as one of four demands made at the National Conference for New Politics. I am learning about all of this and will be telling the longer story of the evolution of feminist media in an upcoming book. Alarmingly, though, in just the past month of my research, two major feminist media outlets have announced either closure all together and/or dire drops in their funding and major layoffs. In this time – when Roe v Wade is threatened, immigrant children in camps are sexually abused, and women of color leaders are asked “to go back to where they came from” – it is deeply disturbing that the strongest and most experienced feminist voices in media might be curbed.
Read the full article on Philanthropy Women.