About The Women’s Media Center
The Women’s Media Center makes women visible and powerful in the media. Led by our president, the Emmy-winning journalist, writer, and producer Carol Jenkins, the WMC works with the media to ensure that women’s stories are told and women’s voices are heard. We do this in three ways: through our media advocacy campaigns; by creating our own media; and by training women to participate directly in media. We are directly engaged with the media at all levels to ensure that a diverse group of women is present in newsrooms, on air, in print and online, as sources and subjects.
The Women’s Media Center was founded in 2005 as a non-profit progressive women’s media organization by writers/activists Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem.
Why Is It Important?
Simply put, there is a crisis of representation in the media. We live in a racially and ethnically diverse nation which is 51% female, but the news media itself remains staggeringly limited to a single demographic. While women hold less than 3% of decision-making “clout” positions in media, they also earned only 25% of all new media jobs created from 1990 -2005, despite constituting 65% of all undergraduate and graduate journalism and mass communications students.
The media should reflect the reality of our lives and can also help to determine the political policies and elections that shape our lives. The underrepresentation of women and people of color is at its most acute on the influential Sunday morning political talk shows where male guests outnumber female guests four to one, and white guests outnumber guests who are people of color by seven to one. Our work in diversifying the media landscape is critical to the health of our culture and democracy.
The Women’s Media Center convenes panels, issues reports, organizes grassroots campaigns, and meets behind the scenes with members of the media to address issues of women’s representation and general diversity. Our video documenting sexism in the primary election, “Sexism Sells But We’re Not Buying It,” garnered national attention, spawned a petition campaign, and received hundreds of thousands of hits on You Tube. Our 2008 panels, “From Soundbites to Solutions,” brought together top journalists like Christiane Amanpour, Juan Gonzalez, Michel Martin, Rebecca Traister and others in New York and at the Democratic National Convention. We also produced a report from these panels’ findings; “Bias, Punditry, and the Press.” Through our “Show Me The Women” campaign, we were active in critiquing and engaging with the Presidential debates. The WMC is conducting an ongoing effort to push for more diverse, inclusive moderation and format in the next electoral cycle, so that we can all enjoy a real exchange of ideas from journalists who should represent us all. For more detailed information on any of these or to learn about our other media advocacy work, check our Programs page.
Creating Our Own Media
Each week, The Women’s Media Center publishes 2-3 pieces of original writing and journalism on our website. These pieces “tell the untold story” through reporting, first-person narratives, and analysis of existing news trends. The WMC invites women to write for us. For more information, please email [email protected]. We also produce a “Daily News Brief,” an aggregate of the day’s top news stories on women and media. To subscribe to our communications, which include WMC Exclusives, the Daily News Brief, and our newsletter, click here.
The Progressive Women’s Voices program provides media training and support for progressive women so they can develop robust media strategies that have greater impact. Now in its second year, the WMC’s Progressive Women’s Voices program has launched an incredible group of women sources, experts, authors and commentators. The WMC provides its PWV classes with training and practice in broadcast, radio, print, blogging, writing, and more. Most importantly, we train women to craft and articulate their own messages in any media environment. With our training and support, in 2008 our PWV women appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Elle, New York, USA Today, Forbes, Variety, Mother Jones, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Salon, The Huffington Post, The New Republic, the Los Angeles Times, on the Associated Press and Reuters wires, on “Good Morning America,” CNN, MSNBC, CBS Nightly News, Fox News, ABC News, CNBC, The Tyra Banks Show, PBS’s “To The Contrary,” Bill Moyers, on numerous NPR shows, and in hundreds of other significant media outlets.
Through our website, programs, and events, The Women’s Media Center is building a strong, dynamic community of women to speak up and change the face of the media. We can’t have a democracy without a fully participatory media – until everyone is at the table, the discussion is incomplete. Please consider subscribing to our communications or donating to help us continue to make women more visible and powerful in the media.