Women – they are geneticists, epidemiologists, economists or geopolitics and yet you rarely see them on television sets. Because for many journalists, “good clients” are still experts … men, of course.
A noticeable improvement
In 2017, the president of the republic made equality between women and men “a big reason for the five-year term.” This huge project has brought together all the actors: state, local authorities, associations, organizations. Statistics published annually by Arcom (formerly CSA) show a significant improvement in women’s representation in the media. However, for the first time, the subtle analysis with the help of artificial intelligence tools developed by INA shows that this improvement is only obvious.
Admittedly, the presence of women, especially on television sets, is increasing: from 6pm to 8pm, 40% of the experts interviewed by the media in the most visible sections are women. But only 34% of them talk. What’s more, cowardice and captivity have brought women to the forefront of the news, confined to the stereotype of the mother in charge of the organization of the home and family’s material life, or even the first lady at work, the cashier or nurse. … We are far from epidemiological experts deciphering health situations in media galleries or on radio and television sets …
No true speech balance
Despite having an extensive legal arsenal that guarantees equality between men and women in almost all cases, we have not yet been able to achieve a real balance of discourse in the media. These resistances show that our society is still characterized by an underlying principle of segregation of power based on gender: the field of women’s empowerment, which is engaged in the household, education, caring for others, internalization in general. … Areas of male power, which occupy the territory of public squares and dominate both the economy and politics. Despite real progress, this identification survives largely unconsciously, making it even more detrimental. It is for this reason that it is imperative that women speak out in the media to break down gender stereotypes that are both a reflection of this invisible frontier and the strongest pillar that freezes our society in a distorted mirror that is no longer compatible with it.
Inadequate representation of female experts in the media deprives our young girls of female role models who can inspire them with the courage and ambition for which they are now ready through their training. And encouraged by our recently appointed Prime Minister …
The important role of the media
As they pledge to do so in 2015, the media must play its part in working towards this. In September 2020, Céline Calvez, MP, submitted a report to the Minister, Roslyn Bachelet, conveying this message. Among the 26 proposals are establishing a bonus for exemplary media in promoting community representation, systematizing a specific monitoring center for women’s place in the media, or including objectives and resources in agreements with public audiovisual companies – but much remains to be done!
As the Grand Corps Malade has revealed in the song Mesdemes, the women “More subtle, more sublime, more elegant, than the male sex that speaks louder and occupies all space”. Let’s hope that women, without the need to speak out loud, still manage to get their voices heard so that the voices of female experts ultimately give their skills the right place.
See also The Halfpost: Before UN forum for gender equality, associations want a “feminist recovery plan”