Only 22% of 180 top editors across 240 news outlets are women, despite that on average, 40% of journalists in the 12 markets investigated are women. Last year, this figure was 21% across the same markets, according to a survey by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
Among the 38 new top editors appointed across the brands covered, 26% are women. In the US and Finland, half of the new top editors appointed in the past year are women, but in many other markets, few are.
In all 12 markets, the majority of top editors are men, including in countries where women outnumber men among working journalists.
The percentage of women in top editorial positions varies significantly from market to market, from 5% in Mexico to 44% in the US.
“Top editorial leadership matters both in terms of how journalism is practised and how it appears in society. Therefore, it is important to track who top editors are and document the extent to which they represent the wider public in all its difference and diversity.
In 11 out of 12 markets, there are lower percentages of women in top editorial roles than women working as journalists.
“Looking more broadly at gender equality in society and the percentage of women in top editorial positions, we find a weak positive correlation. But it continues to be the case that many countries that score well on the United Nations Gender Inequality Index have relatively few women among the top editors”, the survey says.
“There is notable variation in the percentage of online news users in each market who say they get news from one or more major outlets with a woman as the top editor (whether offline or online). This ranges from, at the high end, 72% in Kenya and 71% in Finland to, at the low end, 18% in Mexico and 27% in Brazil.”