Kudos to KPFA’s Women’s Magazine for pointing out that,
On Project Censored’s Top 25 list for 2010, not one story has to do with women and gender issues. But that doesn’t mean there was so much coverage of women’s issues; rather, the stories related to women are so censored that even the watchdogs didn’t notice them.
The program then goes on to devote space to important stories about women in 2010, well worth the listen:
Click to listen (or download)
But as Howard University Professor Carolyn M. Byerly points out, what this really illustrates is why, “structural analysis as to who owns and controls these media, and who makes communication policy,” is so badly needed.
Byerly’s research, to be published in the forthcoming Howard Journal of Communication, February 2011, has found that only 6% of radio and television stations are owned by women, in television the number is less than 5%. Only .01% are owned by non-white women. Only 1% of top management in radio are women and a similarly small number of women serve on boards of directors. With numbers like that, we shouldn’t be surprised when Byerly reports that, “women’s concerns are either missing or under-reported”.
The point Byerly makes is an important one–while we need to continue to call out the exclusion of women from the media, it is important to realize that this will continue unless we address the issue of women’s exclusion from ownership and positions of power in media production.
I’d also add that while we work on that, we need to be supportive of women-generated media that does exist. The Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press has an excellent compendium of women’s media. This is an excellent resource for finding out about the wonderful media work being done by women. Women Action and The Media also has an excellent wiki page with more information about the exclusion of women in the media.