By Jane Thomas.
The under-representation of women in news reporting has come into the spotlight once again this week, courtesy of a series of high profile debates and discussions about women’s issues, which fail to involve women’s voices. The concern isn’t new; the Guardian have run commentary and analysis on the ridiculously low levels of female participation in shows like the ‘Today Programme’ for some time, and continue to highlight how skewed the print media is against women’s voices.
Attention has rightly been focused on research and editorial decisions which silence women through poor representation, with a cyclical and oversimplified response of ‘we looked and couldn’t find any’ beingby Week Woman founder and journalist Caroline. Just a few days after the launch of the new ‘Women’s Room’ directory – a voluntary register for women to list their experience/expertise to help find these elusive ‘skilled women’ – many women have willingly signed up.
At the same time an uncomfortable theme has been emerging of women who are clearly experts feeling reluctant to say so. I’m not talking about those who say they just don’t want to be listed (which is fine – it’s not everyone’s cup of tea) but those who genuinely question whether they are good enough. In some cases, the challenge has not been locating women with expertise, but finding them confident enough to want to speak or write about it.