WAN-IFRA Women in News (WIN) aims to increase women’s leadership and voices in the news. It does so by equipping women journalists and editors with the skills, strategies, and support networks to take on greater leadership positions within their media. In parallel, WIN partners with media organisations to identify industry-led solutions to close the gender gap in their newsrooms, boardrooms and in the content they produce.

WIN is currently working with more than 80 media from 15 countries including: Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe (WIN Africa); Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine (WIN Arab Region); and Myanmar and Vietnam (WIN Southeast Asia).

WIN is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


WIN is made possible through support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

WAN-IFRA is the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers, representing more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. WAN-IFRA is unique in its position as a global industry association with a human rights mandate to defend and promote media freedom, and the economic independence of news media as an essential condition of that freedom.

WAN-IFRA applies a dual approach to supporting media freedom. It addresses political and structural constraints to media freedom through advocacy and at the same time works to strengthen the capacity and networks of the media and their representative institutions.

This dual approach allows WAN-IFRA to address challenges to media freedom from multiple perspectives, leveraging experiences and synergies between advocacy and development projects, partnerships and the wider expertise of WAN-IFRA’s international community to encourage meaningful change.



To get in touch with Women in News:

Melanie Walker
WIN Executive Director

Jane Godia
Director, Africa

Fatemah Farag
Director, Arab Region

Khin Thandar Htay
Director, Southeast Asia

If you have questions about the microsite, or gender balance:

Gabriella Siciliano
Director, Digital

Mona Magdy Abdelmaksoud
Senior Manager, Gender Balance and Research

Farah Wael
Manager, Digital and Research

What to expect

This guide aims to equip media organisations and professionals with the necessary tools and insights to increase gender balance in their content.

It should help you to:

  • Understand the importance of gender balance in content
  • Identify the different ways in which the media gender stereotypes
  • Understand how to avoid gender stereotyping
  • Develop organisational strategies to improve gender balance in content
  • Identify suitable metrics and tools to track their progress
  • Learn from successful initiatives that have been implemented by other news organisations

Gender definition and a non-binary guide

This guide reflects Women in News’ primary mission, promoting the leadership and voices of women in the media.

For the purposes of this guide, the term ‘gender balance’ is used to refer to the balance between women and men.

Women in News, however, understands that gender is not binary, but is a spectrum. While this guide focuses on the balance between women and men only, elements of the guide can be applied to the media’s representation and portrayal of trans people and the LGBTQIA+ community more broadly.

WIN recognises the need for a more specific non-binary resource for the media industry and will be creating one in the near future.



The socially constructed characteristics that a person is given by society, such as norms, behaviours and relationships. Most societies define gender as binary, where a person is either a man or woman. However, our gender is irrespective of whether a person is born male or female.

* As our understanding of gender as a spectrum rather than binary increases, this definition will continue to evolve.

Definition adapted from World Health Organisation: https://www.who. int/health-topics/gender


Preconceived ideas of what women and men’s attributes, characteristics and roles should be based on their gender.


Actions or thoughts that are prejudiced (consciously or unconsciously) because of preconceived ideas of what women and men’s attributes, characteristics and roles should be based on their gender.


Attitudes and actions that discriminate against people based solely on their gender.


Ability to view how society as-signs gender roles and relationships and the ability to understand the effects this has. Related terms: gender sensitive.


Language that is not gender specific and which considers people in general, with no reference to women and men or at least equitable representation of women and men.

Related terms: gender fair language, gender neutral language


The established gender binary in societies that defines the gender of a person as a man if he is born male or a woman if she is born male. Persons who do not fit the gender norms are often discriminated against and stigmatised.


Gender identity is each person’s internal and individual experience of gender. It is their sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. A person’s gender identity may be the same as or different from their sex at birth.

Definition adapted from https://www.genderspectrum.org/quick-links/ understanding-gender/


Most people – including most trans-gender people – are born either male or female. But some people don’t neatly fit into the categories of ‘man’ or ‘woman’, or ‘male’ or ‘female’. For example, some people have a gender that blends elements of being a man or a woman, or a gender that is different than either male or female. Some people don’t identify with any gender. Some people’s gender changes over time.

Related terms: trans, transgender

Definition adapted from www.transequality.org


Is an umbrella term referring to people with diverse gender identities and expressions that differ from stereotypical gender norms. It includes but is not limited to people who identify as transgender, trans woman (male-to-female), trans man (female-to-male), transsexual, cross-dresser, gender non-con-forming, gender variant or gender queer.

Related terms: trans, non-binary

Definition adapted from GLAAD: https://www.glaad.org/about


Cisgender is the term used for people whose gender identity matches their sex at birth. For example, a person who identifies as a woman and was born female. This term is used as an opposite to transgender.

Definition adapted from GLAAD: https://www.glaad.org/about

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