The not-obvious low presence of women in TV programs
by perrinebrds on March 9, 2015 - 1:11pm
If at first glance, women are very present on television, they are more often anchors, and are thus selected for their physical and their fluency.n 2014 the French Superior Audio-visual Council (CSA) which is the authority of the self-regulation of the French broadcasting, brought out studies that show inequalities existing between both sex in their representation in TV programs. They analysed (except publicity’s spot programs) of 17 different channels, which represent an amount of 1200 hours of programs and the authority has reached to the conclusion that women are significantly underrepresented on television program: 64% of them being men and 36% women. This general number shows an obvious imbalance.
Looking more deeply, other studies showed that the place of women in the French audio-visual landscape depends also on the form of the emissions. Indeed we must differentiate presentation and content : when it comes to provide content, expert advices, and experienced witness, women are much less requested than men. Women in the media "are more anonymous, less expert, suffer more than men ». Today, only 18% of the experts invited on TV stages are women. Moreover, when they are invited to intervene on TV programs on a subject that they master, we note that women have more difficulties to « keep the microphone » than men. The study also notes that on the 15 daily talk-shows studied at prime time, women account for only one third of the speaking time identified. This discrimination also deals with the topic. Indeed studies have proved that topics approaching politics are much more presented by men than women.
But when focusing on the content as for news program women are only present in an average of 17% and especially the biggest is the channel, worst is the gab between men and women : when a “normal” channel has a percentage of 52% of men and 47% of women, a big one suits better a gap of 67% of men and 32% of women. (INA/study CSA) It seems still to exist a relationship between the idea of the value or the societal statue of a channel or topic, as if more the impact was going to be important more the men were asked to represent it. And this can send back to the basic idea that influencing sphere should be represented by men.
The report highlights the continuing large gap between women's lives today and their place and image in the media, as well as the persistence of stereotypes. 43% of the journalists are women, a proportion that is expected to grow as 60% of students in journalism are girls! Facing this sad assessment, most editorial board of the largest french TV channels have set up an « Expert Files » in order to provide journalists women experts contacts to invite them to come intervening on TV shows.f that affirmative action has already beared fruits, it still remains to be qualified. It is similar to the system of quotas and it would suggest that women are invited in talk shows not because they are experts but because they are women.
At CSA, the working group on diversity has implemented various instruments (barometer, charter, management diversity ...) and has enacted a standard, the "Diversity Label" which commits the company to better represent the french society, including women, within the board of directors and on-air. But all of the french TV channel still don’t fulfill all the conditions yet to get it.