Meet the Press/Screenshot, from "Meet the Press"
Despite the heroic stories of the female IDF fighters on October 7, and despite the significant achievements they bring every day on the battlefield, the vast majority of men still stand out in the news studios on the various channels. For the most part, the women who do come to the studios represent the families of the abductees, or the "other angle," and they are not journalists or panel members.
What is interesting is that all this is happening despite the fact that in the personnel of the news companies there is a significant number of journalists, reporters and expertise in various fields. On some channels, almost half of employees are female employees.
On the face of it, the reason for this is the "war discourse" often shared by uniformed men or former IDF officials – but gender inequality in on-screen news broadcasts was also prominent before the war.
A pre-war study conducted by Yifat Media Research for the Journalists Association, The Seventh Eye and Success examined the representation of women in television and radio channels in the first half of 2023. The study found that the proportion of men in studios is double that of women – 68% men versus 32% women. The study also found that the Public Broadcasting Corporation leads in gender equality on screen, with a female participation rate on screen of 47% during the period studied. In Kan Reshet Bet, the number was 27% women journalists from broadcasting. Higher than all other radio stations tested, but still low.
Channel 14 in second place
Channel 12 News, which presents gender equality at the core of society's values, has a female participation rate of only 37%
After the corporation, Channel 14 actually recorded a relatively high presence of women at 39% of all broadcasts. Channel 12 News, which presents gender equality values at the core of society's values, found a female participation rate of only 37%. Network 13 were last on the scale with a female participation rate of only 35%. Recall that the percentage of women in Israel stands at 51%.
In this spirit, the Journalists' Association, Project 5050 and a number of women's and equality organizations sent a letter this week to the CEOs of the news companies of Kan 11, News 12, News 13, Now 14, demanding that news studios be created equally and host 50% speakers and commentators.
Other women's organizations participated in the appeal, including Women Wage Peace, The Women's Court, Equal Work, Building an Alternative, Women and Their Bodies, the Dvora Institute, the Headquarters for Combating Trafficking in Women and Prostitution, Your Voice, Young Politicians and many others.
Second place in gender equality. Channel 14/Screenshot, Channel 14
"Part of the failure of the war stems from the fact that women's voices have been silenced. But that didn't change the discussion model."
"Part of the failure of the war stems from the fact that women's voices have been silenced. Observer warnings, counterintelligence warnings, and more. We were also exposed to the courage and fighting power of women on the front lines – CSOs, tanks and more. But none of this has changed the debate model, which relies heavily on male experts, commentators and journalists. Women from a variety of population groups will bring substantial added value to the panel, who will voice more interpretations of this crisis, and even in discussions dealing with the silencing of women, it seems that there are no women on the panel itself," the organization wrote.
"Much has been said about the day after the war, it seems that Israeli society has internalized the place of women at the decision-making table, and an understanding that this will be part of the road to rehabilitation. The new companies have an opportunity to make the change now. You don't have to wait for elections or conduct primaries. All it takes is a conscious leadership decision that every panel – on every issue – will be at least 50% women. That decision has to be made now."
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The sparseest female presence. News 13/Screenshot, Channel 13
Yael Yehieli, founder of the 5050 Partnership and Gender Equality initiative, said: "This war has made it clear how important it is to have 50% women in decision-making centers, and this includes the centers of influence on public consciousness. Now is exactly the time for news studios to make a decision of 50% speakers and commentators per edition. Inequality does not go away by itself. A brave decision by the editors of the editions can make a dramatic and necessary change here and bring Israel to a better place."
Anat Sargosti, press freedom coordinator at the Journalists Association: "There is no reason in the world that precisely in a war, whose impact on civilians is so great, those who will interpret reality for us are men in general and former generals in particular. We must also hear women in the studios, and not just in the role of the mother waiting for the kidnapped son. There are enough women experts in a variety of subjects and there is no reason not to invite them."
- More on the subject:
- Meet the Press
- News 12
- Journalists' Association
- Gender Equality
- News 13
- Iron Sword War