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The gender balance of expert sources quoted by UK news outlets online

Analysis commissioned by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership found that 77 per cent of people quoted as experts in online news articles by the main UK news outlets are men.

The research looks at the gender balance of expert sources used by a sample of UK media across eight types of news coverage, revealing that women are significantly underrepresented:

  • Business/finance: 86% men compared to 14% women
  • Tech: 76% men compared to 24% women
  • Domestic politics: 69% men compared to 31% women
  • Foreign news: 78% men compared to 22% women
  • Foreign politics: 87% men compared to 13% women
  • Social policy: 52% men compared to 48% women
  • Science/health: 71% men compared to 29% women
  • Nature/environment: 73% men compared to 27% women

Researchers analysed a representative sample of all news articles published online by leading UK media outlets across a seven-day period in April (19th to 25th). In total, there were 1,112 articles across the eight categories of story listed above which contained at least one identifiable quote from an expert source. 1,825 sources were featured overall. An ‘expert source’ was defined as someone who had provided a quote based on their knowledge, job role or other position of influence.

Averaging the gender balance over these categories produces a split of 77 per cent men compared to 23 per cent women. This uneven split partly reflects the gender imbalances in these fields, with women underrepresented at the top of many professions.

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(pdf, 500kb)