Eighty-seven percent of the editors and owners of India’s major English and Hindi newspapers are men.
These are the results from April 2021 to March 2022 and collected in a report produced by Newslaundry and UN Women and published at The Media Rumble 2022.
While women are better represented on digital media platforms (37.5%), they are rarely included in TV news discussions of defence, sports and business – issues historically coded in favor of men. Coverage of gender issues is also often limited to opinion pages.
The study looked at seven English and seven Hindi newspapers, 12 magazines and nine digital portals, where data was collected by counting and querying signatures. For news channels, the report found 1,094 primetime shows on seven English news channels and 981 talk shows on eight Hindi news channels.
Seventy-five percent of senior positions (editors and owners) in news organizations are held by men. Hindi organizations have suffered the most, with less than 10% women in leadership and ownership positions. Of the seven Hindi newspapers surveyed, four had no women in leadership positions. English newspapers did better, but not by much – 15% of senior positions were held by women. The Telegraph is an exception, with an equitable distribution of roles between men and women. Statesman and Indian Express only had men in these leadership roles.
Only English-language news channels crossed the threshold of 40% female editors and owners. The fairest distribution was NDTVwith 50 percent of positions held by women, while Republic Television was zero percent. To Sansad TVa government initiative, less than a third of owners and editors were women.
Among digital media, IsMojo and the news minute performed best, with 66.67% female editors and owners. Newslaundry had 20 percent, swarajya didn’t have any.
In the journals section, First line and hindi outlook had equal representation of men and women in leadership positions; the other magazines surveyed had fewer or no women in these positions.
TV panelists and presenters
The report notes a clear gender disparity among panelists invited to debates on news channels.
On Hindi channels, 52% of panelists were men. News18 and Bharat Republic only had male presenters for prime time shows. Meanwhile, 75 percent of the anchors on ABP News were women. Of 981 debates with 1,400 unique panelists on Hindi news channels, 232 were women, or just 16%. On Indian televisionthis figure has fallen further to less than 10%.
On English-language news channels, 371 unique panelists out of a total of 2,019 were women in the 1,094 prime-time shows surveyed. At 18%, this figure is only slightly higher than its Hindi counterpart.
This means that on news channels, more than 80% of panelists are men. The conclusions of the report in 2019 were exactly the same.
With regard to debates on gender issues, Aaj Tak had no female panelists. On Sansadhowever, 75 percent of gender panelists were women.
The report attempted to analyze the correlation between a panelist’s gender and their area of expertise, as well as their gender with the panel they were invited to. A preliminary look revealed a graded gender bias. For example, the lowest participation of female panelists was observed in debates on defence, national security and finance.
TV news anchors on English and Hindi news channels had a fairly even representation of 47% and 58%, respectively.
Of 2,939 journalists interviewed in seven English newspapers, only 868 were women, around a third. Women were the subjects of less than eight percent of the reports and the author of about 19 percent of them. In Hindi, only 5.51% of front-page stories are written by women compared to 31% in English.
Among digital media, Mooknayak had the highest representation of women at 100 percent. Newslaundry Englishthe Quintet and Scroll each had 50 percent.
The report highlighted the importance of not ignoring intersectionality in representation. More than 59% of women in the general category had the opportunity to write, far more than women from marginalized communities. Women from SC and ST backgrounds had a representation of only 2.87 and 1.05%, respectively.
Among the 12 magazines studied, women journalists represent only 30.7% of the total number of journalists. The percentage dropped to 4.3% in writings on defense and national security, where men enjoyed an overt dominance of 95.6%.
The report also noted challenges faced in gender-neutral newsrooms, including harassment, bias against women in leadership positions, lack of maternity leave policies, declining pay for women in media and gender promotion and evaluation systems.
English newspapers: India time, Hindustan time, Hindu, Telegraph, Trade standard, Statesman and Indian Express
Hindi newspapers: Dainik Jagran, Daïnik Bhaskar, Hindustan, Amar Ujala, Patrika of Rajasthan, Prabhat Khabar and Punjab Kesari
News channels in English: News18, India today, mirror now, NDTV, Republic TV, Sansad TV and times now
Hindi News Channels: Aaj Tak, ABP News, News18 India, Indian television, NDTV, Bharat Republic, Sansad TV and Zee News
Digital news portals: IsMojo, First post, Scroll, Newslaundry, swarajya, Mooknayak, New Minute, Quintet and Thread