The media has a significant role in our world, and so there needs to be an emphasis on diverse representation within the media landscape. 

Women, in particular, have had to fight extremely hard for their place in the media and for their voices to be heard. And as much progress as there has been, there is always room for improvement; there is still a need for female voices to be amplified.

Read on as media update's Saads Abrahams explores why the female voice is vital in the media space.

Women in journalism

Stereotypes are the bane of almost every woman's existence — especially in the workplace — and women are constantly working to break them. This is especially true for women in journalism, as they are constantly fighting for their voices to be heard in this historically male-dominated industry

Female voices in journalism are vital. This is because they bring a different perspective to their male counterparts. Female journalists can provide unique insights, perspectives and voices on topics ranging from:

  • gender inequality

  • reproductive rights, to

  • workplace harassment.

These are issues that directly affect women, so having a woman cover the topic means that it will come from an authentic place. 

There are many challenges that women in journalism still face today, such as:

  • gender bias

  • the lack of female representation

  • work-life balance, and 

  • sexual harassment.

If media companies that make use of journalism want to be successful, they need to work hard at creating equal opportunities for women in the industry and help amplify their voices. 

Women in film and television

One of the biggest contributors to the stereotypes that women face is the film and television industry. In recent years, the representation of women in and surrounding movies and TV has improved, but this particular media space still has a long way to go. 

For far too long, a woman has been portrayed as a damsel in distress, needing a strong male lead to save her and sweep her off her feet. But women got tired of seeing that and wanted to be the masters of their own destiny. 

Research conducted by the Institute and JWT found that "90% of women globally feel that female role models in film or TV are important; 61% said female role models in film and TV have been influential in their lives, and 58% said that women have been inspired to be more ambitious or assertive."

This same study found that "53% of women globally think there is a lack of female role models in film and TV; 74% said they wished they had seen more female role models growing up, and 80% said that women should have a louder voice when it comes to cultural influence."

Women in advertising 

Women in advertising have for a long time been the object of the male gaze; as we all know, "sex sells". However, we are becoming more progressive, and the advertising space needs to change this stereotype. 

Women have the majority of purchasing power. If you want to run a successful advertising campaign, you should look to break the stereotypical gender roles that surround women. To do this successfully, you need to have women on your team who are able to assist you and steer your campaign in the right direction. 

A tool that advertisers and marketers can make use of to identify gender bias in the media is the Gender Equality Measure (GEM), which is a data-driven methodology

GEM asks consumers to evaluate the portrayal of women that they have seen in the content in four ways:

  1. Presentation: What is the overall opinion of the female that was presented?

  2. Respect: Was she portrayed respectfully?

  3. Appropriate: Was she depicted inappropriately? 

  4. Role model:  Was she seen as a positive role model for women and girls?

Women in social media

Social media has been a vital media source for amplifying female voices. This is because women don't need any permission to speak up and be heard in this media space. 

Social media has given voice to movements such as:

  • #MeToo

  • #TimesUp, and 

  • #NotAllMen

These initiatives have allowed women to speak publicly about their experiences with gender inequality and harassment. 

Social media allows women in all spaces to share their opinions and to make a noise about what matters. However, many women still face online harassment when speaking out about these topics because some may feel that they are controversial.

The need for diversity and inclusion

The media, in all its forms, plays a massive role in shaping our perceptions of the world around us. Because of this, the media has a responsibility to give everyone an equal share of voice  — especially those who have been previously given the short stick, like women

Diversity and inclusion matters because they help encourage and support widespread:

  • representation 

  • education 

  • empathy, and

  • accuracy


Why do you think that female voices are important in the media space? Let us know in the comment section below. 

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If you enjoyed this piece, then be sure to take a look at The importance of inclusivity and representation on social media.

*Image courtesy of Canva