Israeli media slight women, perpetuate gender stereotypes, report finds

The study found that coverage of women in the news was 24% compared with 76% for men in traditional media, and 15% compared with 85% for men on the Internet.

Channel 2 television's Lucy Aharish (photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Channel 2 television's Lucy Aharish
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Israeli women make up only 24 percent of people heard, read about or seen in newspaper, television and radio news reports, largely due to a media focus on political and security realms where women tend to be excluded, a worldwide study released on Thursday found.
The study by the fifth Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP), the world’s longest- running and most extensive research on gender in the news media, was due to be presented next week at a conference at Sapir Academic College in the South.
It based its findings on print, television, radio and Internet web sites monitored last year in more than 100 countries.
The media reviewed in Israel included television Channels 1, 2, and 10, Reshet Bet and Army Radio, and among print reports, Yediot Aharonot, Haaretz, Israel Hayom, and The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication Maariv.
Among Internet media, GMMP looked at Walla, Ynet and Haaretz.
The study found that coverage of women in the news was 24% compared with 76% for men in traditional media, and 15% compared with 85% for men on the Internet.
Women were found to be more prominent as a central focus in crime and violence stories where they were prominent in 71% of cases, and least prominent in stories about politics and government, showing up in just 2% of stories that made up 38% of all stories covered.
The findings saw women covered as news subjects more than men in occupations in the non-profit sector, or in 80% of such stories, including 69% in the arts and pop-culture, 675 about children, 58% on home-making and parenthood and 52% of legal-related occupations.
In all media, women were identified by their family status more than men – 33% compared to 10% in traditional media, and 26% compared to 8% on the Internet.
It found additionally that 42% of reporters, announcers and presenters in print, radio and TV in Israel are women, compared to only 20% on the Internet while 60% of women in radio and television were announcers or presenters, and a minority of them were reporters.
The report found women reporters and announcers were much younger than their male counterparts, and that women were “represented less compared with male reporters in every topic and in all media.”
In its review of 136 in traditional media stories it found that 95% of stories reinforced stereotypes and only 18% focused on women.
GMMP researchers see a focus on political and security issues as a facto in skewing media representation away from women.
“On the one hand, Israeli society is based upon advanced democratic principles that advocate gender equality. On the other, the society has been shaped and influenced by many systems that discriminate on the basis of gender,” the researchers wrote.
“Therefore, while the right to freedom of speech is relatively recognized in Israeli democracy, the media`s choice in most cases, is to focus on the familiar patterns and give the first priority to the political and security issues. These fields not only preserve gender stereotypes, but also exclude women,” they wrote.