Women-Owned Media Matters, And We Need Your Support

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Aug. 4 2020, Published 12:14 p.m. ET

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It’s all too rare to have a media platform that is founded by and run by women. Just try to think of a few of the women-focused platforms (or even general news platforms) and take a second to look up who owns them. Surprised?

Newsrooms are overwhelmingly white and male. Ownership of media publications follows the same trend. The result is a media landscape that looks much like this: 

  • Women made up a mere 19 percent of experts featured in news stories, meanwhile, 69 percent of newswire bylines are written by men compared to just 31 percent by women. 
  • Print media is only 41 percent women and men are 59 percent. When it comes to digital media, the numbers are similar with 40 percent women and 60 percent men. 
  • Women of color represent just 7.95 percent of U.S. print newsroom staff, 12.6 percent of local TV news staff, and 6.2 percent of local radio staff.

This research is according to The Status of Women in the U.S. Media report for 2019, and the status of women of color in the U.S. news media 2018. Ownership data is not even tracked, save for commercial TV stations in which they found 7.4 percent of them to be women-owned. The data is reported by the F.C.C.  

The crowd at the #LiveCivilTour stop at AlleyNYC for #HerAgendaLive on 12/11/2014.
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“When women’s expert and authoritative voices are accurately reflected and harmful gender stereotypes left behind, we all benefit. Girls – and boys – grow up in a world where they learn they can participate equally. Gender bias in schools, workplaces and communities are diminished,” explained an article on the topic from the World Economic Forum. 

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This is why now more than ever it is important to support women, and Black-owned media. With this in mind, Her Agenda launched a crowdfunding campaign to ask the community to invest in us through donations that will go toward paying more women journalists and writers. 

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To kick off the crowdfund, Caress donated funds through a grant in partnership with iFundWomen. The fundraising campaign runs until August 24th. We’re doing this to ensure the growth of women’s voices in media, which in turn impacts us all.  

“The mass media provide the guiding myths that shape our perception of the world and serve as important instruments of control,” according to Stuart Hall’s cultural studies theory. This theory essentially finds that whoever creates that information is important, and “power and power structures in society play a major role in how information is disseminated and interpreted especially when disseminated amongst different groups in society.” 

“Media tells us what is important and who matters, and when the wires assign 69% of the stories to men, the message is clear where women stand,” says Julia Burton of WMC in an interview with the Independent.

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We could not agree more. The gender imbalance in media has been proven to have a direct correlation to women’s underrepresentation in the workplace, and reinforces harmful gender stereotypes. 

We need a more representative media not just within newsrooms, but also within ownership circles. We need to normalize ambitious and powerful women. Her Agenda’s team of leaders and contributors is 99% women, with a core team of 4, and a contributor network of 100 women. 

Let’s support them today. Any amount helps. Donate via our iFundWomen page here:

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By: Rhonesha Byng

Rhonesha Byng is the founder and CEO of Her Agenda— a digital media platform bridging the gap between ambition and achievement for millennial women. The site provides access to content and community that gives millennial women access to information and inspiration to help them get started or to move to the next level of their career. Rhonesha is an Emmy award-winning journalist and entrepreneur whose philosophy in life is established by her acronym of N.E.S.H.A. No one Ever Slows Her Agenda. This motto served as the inspiration for Her Agenda. Rhonesha was named to the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list and ESSENCE magazine named her among 50 Founders To Watch. Rhonesha is also the co-founder of the newly formed nonprofit org The Black Owned Media Equity and Sustainability Institute (BOMESI).

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