Yet women take up 40% of journalistic jobs in the 12 markets analyzed in the study.
“Despite the increasing industry focus on lack of diversity in the news media, we find no clear overall trend toward greater gender equality in top editorial positions over the last year,” the study states.
However, there was a modest increase in women in the leading roles at the 178 brands studied in both years — from 22% last year to 24%. The percentage in the 10 markets covered in both years is flat at 22%.
The study found a positive correlation between the number of women in journalistic roles and those at the top of the ladder. But in 10 out of 12 markets, “there are considerably more women working as journalists than there are women among the top editors,” it notes.
It adds that correlation does necessarily mean causation.
Hiring varies depending on the market. In Japan, none of the major news outlets is led by a women, whereas most of the top editors in South Africa are women — 60%, only slightly less than the 62% who serve in journalistic capacities.
The U.S. is second — 47% of its chief editors are women, up from 41% in 2020. But the UK has seen a decline, from 29% last year to 27%.
In Kenya, 94% of readers get their news from one or more major outlets with a woman at the top.
Reuters Institute studded the top 10 offline (TV, print and radio) and online news brands in weekly usage, as measured in the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2020, the researchers say.