Contrary to global news industry’s broad perceptions of a nearing gender equality in journalism, women remain significantly underrepresented in editorial leadership roles and in news coverage, their voices muted in an industry dominated by men. In countries with multi-racial populations, women of colour experience even greater marginalization in news leadership and coverage. This culture of exclusion in news has had a knock-on effect on women’s news consumption which is in significant decline. Yet, according to our recently published independent From Outrage to Opportunity report, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, greater engagement by women could revitalise the news industry and generate billions of dollars of additional revenue. The proposed session aims to present the problems (for about a third of the time) as well as focus on the 12 solutions themes (for about two thirds of the time) for how the news industry can unlock progress which is likely to lead substantive revenue gains over a five to ten year period.

Four key insights exposing the depth of the problem: 1. Women in India, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, the UK and the US are far off gender parity in their representation as editors-in-chief (1 in 4), political editors (1 in 4) and economics editors (1 in 3). In the UK and the US less than 1 in 3 of foreign affairs editors are women. 2. Women of colour are largely missing or grossly underrepresented in news leadership in highest profile beats in South Africa, the UK and the US, which have multi-racial populations. For example, there are no political, health or foreign editors who are women of colour in the UK. 3. As a result of women’s marginalization at editorial level and their cultural exclusion, multiple structural gender story angles are being missed. Only 0.02% of the news coverage globally explicitly mentions one of the 7 universal structural gender gaps: pay, power, safety, confidence, authority, health and ageism. 4. Furthermore, there is 15-16 percentage point gender new consumption gap between men and women, due in part to the less relevant news framing in the highest profile news specialisms (e.g. politics, economics/business and foreign affairs).

There are numerous solutions to unlock progress globally, including a dormant revenue potential: There are 12 solution themes which have emerged from the dozens of conducted interviews, the analysis of 168 news initiatives across the globe and the three Missing Perspectives reports. They span across the whole news value chain. If implemented these solutions would lead to desperately needed additional revenues into the global newspaper industry - an industry which is projected to be 25% smaller in ten years’ time.

From Outrage to Opportunity showcases the first of its kind business case investigating how to close the gender consumption gap in news. If the gap was gradually reduced over the next decade, that would generate cumulative revenues of $11bn globally for newspapers in 5 years, and $38bn in 10 years. Advancing gender equality in the news is not only a matter of social justice, but also a savvy decision from an economic point of view, and essential for the news industry.

Format: a presentation of From Outrage to Opportunity by Luba Kassova and Richard Addy will be followed by a discussion involving all five speakers.

Organised in association with AKAS.