Speaking out – Women academics (not) in the media

Research in Canada has revealed that although women make up a growing proportion of the academy, including in senior positions, men’s voices still outnumber women’s in the media by four to one. Women scholars are being trained to raise their public presence in a project that has wider implications for higher education and the media.

Shari Graydon told the Worldviews 2013 conference held at the University of Toronto from 19-21 June that the mandate of the non-profit social enterprise Informed Opinions, which she founded in Canada, was to help bridge the gender gap in discourse.

“We are explicitly looking at media representation of women experts.”

Academics were the group in society called on most often to offer comment on issues of the day, she told a session on “Majority in Enrolment, Minority in Leadership”. Other panellists were Professor Teboho Moja and researcher Zukiswa Kekana of New York University, and Katherine Forestier, director of Education Link in Hong Kong.

Canadian data gathered over three years, looking at the ratio of male to female voices in op-ed and commentary pages in major daily newspapers and on influential radio and television public affairs talk shows, had revealed vast disparities.

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