Common gender balance challenges

1. There are not enough, or any, women experts on substantive issues such as politics or the economy

Various news organisations have already turned this challenge on its head by showing that highly qualified women experts are available to comment on any given topic area. In some regions and countries, men dominate government and senior positions making it harder to find these women, but not impossible. Several organisations have put together searchable databases featuring women experts with the aim of helping journalists diversify their coverage. Some news outlets have even created their own internal databases, giving the entire newsroom easy access to women sources.

2. It is hard to find or access women sources

Finding women sources is only hard if you’re used to solely relying on contributions from men. Expanding your network to include more women may require some initial effort and trust-building, especially in countries where women culturally are prevented from speaking to reporters, but it is a worthwhile endeavour that will help you diversify your coverage and gain access to new and interesting viewpoints.

3. Women sources are less confident speaking to the media

Historically, women have not been featured in the media as frequently as men and as a result have less experience.

But more and more news organisations are making a concerted effort to increase the number of women sources featured in their content. With its New Voices initiative, Bloomberg offers media and communications training to expert women in the business and finance industry.

4. Editors always ask for men experts to confirm what women experts say

An editor requiring a man to confirm a woman expert’s view is an example of gender stereotyping that stems from institutional gender bias. It is rooted in the belief that women are inherently less capable than men. However, these women are experts in their own right who do not need men to validate what they are saying. While changing this type of ingrained behaviour and thinking is difficult, it can and must be challenged.

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