The media is a powerful force, helping to shape who we are and how we see ourselves. Yet far too often, diversity in the media is an overlooked and underappreciated factor in what shapes the narratives that define our lives. Moreover, who tells stories in the media should be based on an individual’s level of expertise, yet too often, the voices of women experts are passed over or disregarded. Women have long been underrepresented in the mainstream media – as journalists, editors and opinion writers, as spokespeople and quoted experts, and as subjects of stories. During the COVID-19 pandemic these disparities have only been exacerbated. Male voices have dominated the public narrative about the pandemic, building on a longstanding culture of media turning to men as the leading figures of scientific authority. Women, for example, make up only a handful of those quoted in coverage about COVID-19. Thinking about how diversity in media enhances our ability to understand the impacts of health emergencies like COVID-19 is critical. Hear from three leading women in health media on the various ways gender disparities play out in the field, how women are changing the landscape, and the critical steps media institutions can take to ensure equitable representation throughout all aspects of their organizations.
Gender & Power: Exploring Women’s Voices & Representation in Media