Building peace in the minds of men and women

Women Make the News 2017

Gender Equality Checkup

As part of Women Make the News 2017, we are encouraging you and your organisation to take part in the Gender Equality Checkup, which looks at stereotypes in the way news is presented and also asks questions about gender in the workplace. (Click here to read more about Women Make the News 2017).

The idea is simple – those at every level of news media production can take time to reflect on the issues around gender by taking the Gender Equality Checkup in two key areas – Workplace Operations and Content & Portrayals:

Section A: Workplace Operations

   Organisational Gender Policy

Does the organisation have a Gender Policy and is this made widely available and well known to all employees? 

  • Only 16%, 27% and 69% of a sample of media companies studied have company-wide policies on gender equality in Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa and the Sub Saharan region in Africa, respectively. (IMWF Global Report)
  • Bloomberg News has been formulating gender policies for the past 6 years, and found that the 2 biggest problems are the paucity of women at the helm and the ‘censorship’ of female sources. To combat this, the organization implemented policies to have more mothers at the top management levels. (WAN-IFRA)
  1. Yes and it's well known (5 points)
  2. Yes but it's not well known (2.5 points)
  3. No (0 points)

   Gender Diversity in Senior Management

Does the organisation have a programme on diversity and representation of women at senior management level (eg, a mentorship program or a quota system for board membership)? Does the organisation have a policy to train and equip women to improve their representation for senior positions?

  • Women make up only 36% of reporters and a quarter of media decision-makers. (IMWF Global Report
  • Men hold the vast majority of the seats on governing boards and in top management across seven regions, at 74.1% and 72.7%. (IMWF Global Report
  • Men hold nearly 61.3% of senior management positions, to women 38.7%. (IMWF Global Report)
  1. Yes, we have both (5 points)
  2. Yes, we have a programme on diversity OR a policy for senior positions (2.5 points)
  3. No, we have neither (0 points)

   Harassment & Complaint Procedures

  • More than half of the women surveyed in the UK have been sexually harassed at work. (UK Trade Union Congress 2016
  • Only 6% of women reported the sexual harassment and felt it was satisfactorily dealt with. (UK Trade Union Congress 2016
  • A recent study of Twitter abuse targeting celebrities by Demos found that “Journalism is the only category where women received more abuse than men, with female journalists and TV news presenters receiving roughly three times as much abuse as their male counterparts.” (Trends in the Newsroom 2015).

Does the organisation have a policy on sexual harassment, procedures and processes for dealing with complaints?

  1. Yes, and our staff know about it and our managers are trained to deal with it (5 points)
  2. Yes, but we could do more to ensure complaints are effectively dealt with (2.5 points)
  3. No (0 points)

Section B: Content & Portrayals

   Bias & Stereotypes

Does the organisation regularly review its content to check for gender bias and gender balance in stories? Does the media output show a range of gender perspectives and have a process of checking for/eliminating gender based stereotypes in its commercial messages/advertising.

  • Women make up only 24% of the persons heard, read about or seen in newspaper, television and radio news. (GMMP 2015
  • 18% of female news subjects are portrayed as victims in comparison to 8% of male subjects. (GMMP 2015)
  1. Yes to all of these! (5 points)
  2. Yes to some of these, we could do better (2.5 points)
  3. No, we don't have checks and balances for gender bias and gender balance (0 points)

   Experts & Sources

Does the organisation ensure women are equally represented amongst sources and experts cited? Does the organisation have a database of contacts of women news sources and women experts? 

  • Women make up only 24% of the persons heard, read about or seen in newspaper, television and radio news (GMMP 2015
  • Fewer than one in five experts interviewed by the media are women. (GMMP 2015
  • At Bloomberg News, all stories about enterprise have been required to have at least one quote from a woman since 2014. (WAN-IFRA)
  1. Yes we have a women's source book and we have women equally represented (5 points)
  2. We could do better in this area (2.5 points)
  3. No, we don't do either of these things (0 points)

   Watchdog Function

If you are a media house, do you see covering gender equality as part of your function as a watchdog over public institutions? Does your organisation play a part in ensuring that the media can operate in a free and independent environment?

  1. Yes we do and we ensure we have gender equality or are striving for it in our daily work. We promote the importance of a free and independent media (5 points)
  2. Yes, we do believe that gender equality is a function, but we could do more to have gender equality and a free and indpendent environment (2.5 points)
  3. No, we struggle with this (0 points)

Check Your Score!

Congratulations! The organisation is Gender Sensitive in both its practices and the way it produces content. We recommend the organisation does this exercise at least once a year to become truly Gender Transformative.


Good job! The organisation is Gender Responsive and well on the way to being Gender Transformative. But there is still work to do. See our resources by clicking here and start on a plan of action.

Congratulations on making the first step - you are Gender Aware.  Now the hard work begins to go from being gender aware to being gender transformative. Click here to see the resources UNESCO has collated to assist your journey. You may consider inviting a gender expert in to assist you in your gender sensitivity.

If you completed the checkup, be sure to let us know by filling out our quick online form - click here!

For more information about Women Make the News 2017, please contact Mirta Lourenco at m.lourenco(at)