Men apparently have more to say about women’s health issues than women do, especially in the media.
According to a new study, men have written 52 percent of all articles relating to reproductive rights in the U.S. Women journalists, on the other hand, only penned 37 percent of these articles.
“When it comes to stories about abortion and contraception, women’s voices are systematically stifled – as writers and as sources,” said Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, which conducted the study.
Researchers with the group conducted an in-depth review of 1,385 news stories, columns, op-eds and editorials across the U.S. about reproductive issues during a one year time period between Aug 1, 2014, and July 31, 2015.
The study, “The Gender Gap in Coverage of Reproductive Issues,” analyzed major newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as major news wires, such as Reuters and the Associated Press.
The study also found that not only do men outnumber women in the writing process, but they also make up the majority of experts or people quoted within the article.
“When it comes to stories about abortion and contraception, women’s voices are systematically stifled – as writers and as sources.”
According to the Women’s Media Center study, men accounted for 41 percent of all quotes within articles about reproductive issues, while women were only used as sources in 33 percent of the articles.
“Since women play a greater role in reproduction, it would make sense for women to be the majority of the sources and authorities in its coverage,” added Burton.
The gender gap does not stop with this issue either. The study also found that men's voices also prevail in elections coverage when reproductive issues arise as a main point of debate, with 57 percent of such coverage reported by male journalists.
The study highlights the lack of female voice in public discussions around the issue, which can shape major policies and affect the lives of millions of women.
This is pertinent in the United States, according to Women’s Media Center, where 57 laws were passed in 2015 alone restricting reproductive rights. Media outlet Mic reported similar statistics, showing that various states have adopted 288 abortion restrictions since 2010, while legislators continue to pass such restrictions.
“For media to be accurate, informative and credible, it must ensure that all stories, voices, opinions and perspectives are included in the conversation,” said Burton.