July 21, 2019 | 83° F

Women still make up fewer pundits than men do, Rutgers study finds

Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez and Dimitri Rodriguez |

Photo Illustration | The Center for American Women in Politics is working with Gender Avenger and Women’s Media Center, two organizations which are trying to raise the profile of women in news media, to break down the gender distribution within political punditry.

While women make up more than 50 percent of the U.S. population, they are greatly misrepresented in the media and political perspective, according to research conducted by the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers (CAWP).

CAWP is working with Gender Avenger, a website that encourages a community that ensures women are represented in public dialogue, and Women's Media Center, a non-profit progressive women’s media organization, for a research initiative that provides an analysis of the gender balance of popular morning and nightly cable shows.

They launched an initiative called “Who Talks?” which provides a tally weekly of the gender balance on cable television.

“At this point, there is no excuse for not including women, but it’s happening. We have heard this too many times. They want women but they just can’t find them. It doesn’t hold up,” CAWP Director Debbie Walsh said in an interview with Rutgers Today.

Chelsea Hill, research assistant at CAWP, said she was not shocked by the results, but was still upset over the lack of equality.

“Going into the project...I knew that the results would be nowhere near 50/50 but to watch the shows and see the results month after month, you really get a sense of how underrepresented women are in this medium,” she said in an email.

She said the study would be important during any election year, but is especially significant in a year where there is a possibly of electing the first female president. 

The study began in March and will be going through Nov. 15. CAWP will then analyze the information to determine the female impact on cable television.

CAWP’s research shows negative results in that women’s perspectives are not as actively sought out as male perspectives, according to Rutgers Today.

The research is not filled with positive results, according to the CAWP’s current research.

More than half of the guests invited on networks such as CNN and MSNBC have included the female perspective.

FOX News has far fewer women on their shows, with 15 percent of panelists being women on The Kelly File, as well as 19 percent of panelists on Fox and Friends being women.

CAWP releases the data each month on Gender Avenger's website.

Hill said she does not pay much attention to the content of what individuals say on a panel, but takes note of how many women are included on panels, for how long and how many segments they are included in.

“It’s one thing to watch casually and make assumptions and another thing to literally count each expert,” she said. “There’s no legitimate reason that there are fewer female experts commenting on the presidential election.”

She urges the public to demand equality. 

Gender Avenger has been heavily involved in efforts to bring attention to gender representation in culture, Gina Glantz, co-founder of Gender Avenger, said in an interview with Rutgers Today. She created the idea for the group after watching a 2012 media forum which featured all white men.

Chloe Dopico is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in political science and journalism and media studies. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.

Chloe Dopico

Sophie Nieto-Munoz

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