A male mediascape: female experts 3 times less likely to appear on Lithuanian media than their male counterparts
What is news-worthy, what are the topics, the events, and the people that get the most visibility in our media? Being under the spotlight is a compromise between multiple forces, like public pressure or a media's agenda. Analyzing the way media portrays our society provides important insights about its power dynamics - and about what needs to change about them.
If you begin to pay attention to which experts get to speak on TV and radio, or who are those that get quoted in journalistic articles, you might start to spot a pattern. Men usually dominate the scene. Anecdotes and limited direct experience may give you this intuition but are not enough, however. It is only by collecting data and quantifying gender inequality in media representation that we can grasp the size of this phenomenon. We need data to raise awareness and build an evidence-based argument about why things need to change.
It is from these premises that Lithuanian Journalism Centre began its work collecting media pieces and categorizing the experts invited to speak in them. Between 01/01/2021 and 31/12/2021 Lithuanian Journalism Centre monitored 99 Lithuanian media pieces, in the form of digital and print articles, TV panels and radio features. The results of such an effort are the first cornerstone in understanding just how unbalanced Lithuanian media representation is when it comes to gender. 50% of the experts mentioned in the pieces monitored are men, and 1 media piece in every 1 actually feature male experts exclusively. In some topics, female and gender diverse voices are even less represented or completely excluded: men are 50% of the experts called to discuss foreign and global affairs, and 90% to 100% of the experts on more niche topics like technology. Our society is much more diverse than this! It is time journalism and media begin to reflect this diversity. Read on to explore the data behind the gender inequality in media representation in Lithuania.
Can you guess the gender balance in the media pieces monitored?
Our data collection finally puts an estimate on how much male voices dominate Lithuanian media. Spoiler: gender balance is nowhere in sight, as female and non-binary gender identities remain a minority in the media landscape. Keep scrolling to discover the actual numbers.
Manels are all too common
Focusing on the gender balance within each one of the media pieces monitored, we can see how all-male panels, sometimes referred to as “manels”, are very common: 1 media piece every 1 features exclusively male experts.
Some topics have more gender bias than others
The issue of gender balance in the media is not merely a quantitative one. Let's consider more qualitative information, for example, by looking at the topics experts are invited to talk about. We now notice yet another layer of inequality within gender representation. Some fields are completely dominated by male voices, for example, technology and cybersecurity.
Looking for an expert? Start here!
What can you do? Demand a more gender-balanced media representation!
There are many ways you can support our project and foster an evidence-based gender equality in media. From spreading the facts to contributing to the data collection, here is how you can help us in our efforts.
I'm a journalist
Then do what you can do best: talk and write about the project and its data! Join us in spreading awareness and calling for change.Join
I'm an expert
You can be included in our list of experts, a resource that helps journalists find new experts for their media features.Join
We are the media
Join the News Media Alliance for the Quality of Journalism and help progress towards a more balanced gender representation in the media.Join
I want to contribute
Collecting and classifying data is no easy feat. We are always looking for volunteers to support us with updating and verifying the data behind this project.Contribute