A mere 3 out of 10 people in Swedish news are women, and despite an increase since the last report, Swedes of non-Nordic descent are also grossly underrepresented, according to fresh statistics. Rättviseförmedlingen (Equalisters in English) just released their third annual report on representation in the Swedish news.
– There is a risk that the lack of diversity in the news strengthens stereotypes of who is capable to take part in the public sphere, says Equalisters’ president, Seher Yilmaz.
For the third year in a row, Equalisters has examined who appears in the articles published on the largest Swedish news sites. And for the third year in a row the report Rättvisaren shows that women and Swedes of non-Nordic descent are grossly underrepresentated in Swedish news media. Only 30.5 percent of those in the news are women – despite the fact that reality is completely different.
– If we are met by a majority of men in the news every day, we will believe that men are more capable or suited to express themselves publicly than women are, says Seher Yilmaz.
Since the last study, the percentage of Swedes of non-Nordic descent has increased by five units, from 8.1 to 13 percent. They are clearly underrepresentated as the proportion of Swedes of non-Nordic descent in the population is 20.5 percent, according to Swedish Statistics. The increase is especially clear in the categories “spokesperson” and “expert”, which indicates that the Swedish media have become better at finding a wider selection of experts, and that political parties, businesses and other organisations utilise more Swedes of non-Nordic descent as spokespersons on various issues.
– But the fact that we move forward in one field doesn’t mean that it should stay the same way in another. During half my lifetime the proportion of women in the media has remained at about the same level. That’s just not reasonable, says Seher Yilmaz.
In conjunction with this year’s report, Equalisters launch a new digital tool – Mediemätaren or the Media Meter – which can help Swedish and other newsmakers improve representation in their publications.
– We know that those who set goals for their work, and keep tabs on them continuously, are more likely to succeed, says project manager Tina Sayed Nestius.
Rättvisaren 2017 broken down:
- 30,5 percent of the people who appear in Swedish media are perceived to be women.
- 13 percent of the Swedes who appear in the news are perceived to be of non-Nordic descent, an increase of almost 5 percent.
- The increase is due to two factors: on the one hand, the media have become better at interviewing experts of non-Nordic descent, and on the other hand, the proportion of spokespersons of non-Nordic descent has increased.
- Women and Swedes of non-Nordic descent are still grossly underrepresented in economy and business news.
- Culture and entertainment articles have the best gender disposition, with 44.9 percent women and 54.8 percent men.
The analysis includes 2200 randomly selected web articles from 11 Swedish news sites (published every other month from January to July, 2017)
The publications are: Aftonbladet, Dagens Industri, Dagens Nyheter, Expressen, Göteborgs-Posten, Metro, Nyheter 24, Svenska Dagbladet, Sveriges Radio (sr.se), Sveriges Television (svt.se/nyheter) and Sydsvenskan.
Mediemätaren/The Media meter
The Media meter is an automised media analysis tool that simplifies analysis of large amounts of articles. It finds names and determines origin and gender. The statistics are easy to understand, showing overall results – but by grouping articles in separate studies, it is also possible for newsrooms to monitor progress both by category and over time.
Equalisters is an equality project aiming to correct the imbalances of representation in media, culture, business and other contexts. We believe that when it comes to including competent women and people from other underrepresented groups, excuses that claim that “there just weren’t any”, are no longer good enough.
To prove our point and contribute to a more equal society, we provide a service that generates positive, proactive, and concrete recommendations, compiled in long lists of people who can balance up inequalities of representation in any given context.