Women participation in Indian news media 2.7%

By Media Studies Group, India

  Whenever Women Reservation Bill goes to Indian Parliament there is a high decibel debate in media on empowerment and representation of women in high institutions but an inside look shows that situation of women in media is far worse than the institutions it dissects. 

The nationwide massive study undertaken on representation of women in media by Media Studies Group reveals shocking outcome of gender disproportion. The study on district level reveals a token representation of female journalists as low as 2.7 percent. There are six states and two union territories which have zero percent of women at the district level while Andhra Pradesh tops the list with 107 women journalists at districts. This survey is published in the May issue of communication journals Jan Media and Mass Media.

Media Studies Group is a Delhi based think tank on media and communication research led by veteran journalist and media academician Mr. Anil Chamadia. Elaborating on the findings of this study Anil Chamadia said that the content of the media which is in nationwide debate and often attracts criticism largely depends on demographic representation within media outlets. The study underlines urgent need of affirmative action to bridge this unprecedented gender gap by media houses, adds Chamadia.

The survey also exposes the fact that the national level media houses too have not performed satisfactorily and the number of accredited female journalists working with these organizations is very low compared to accredited female journalists in relatively smaller media houses. Within the ambit of the survey it was observed that most of the popular and mainstream media houses have token presence of female journalists accredited with them at district level. Some media houses account only for one or two female accredited journalist at district level (See tables 2,3,4 and 5). All India Radio performs a uniform distribution as it has six female journalists at grass root level. Majority of the female accreditation was found to be from regional and local newspapers.

Survey figures show that there are only two female journalists accredited as freelancers, out of which one freelance women photographer is accredited at district level.

The Methodology: Media Studies Group used the Right to Information Act for the source of the information. The exercise was launched to collect data on journalists, reporters and editors working at district level from more than 600 districts of India. It took more than a year in making appeals and collecting information from those districts where Media Studies Group was not given information by central public information officers.
This survey was conducted and analyzed by journalists and researchers Avaneesh, Rishi Kumar Singh, Purnima Oraon, Vijay Pratap, Varun gond, Arun Oraon and Azad Ansari on behalf of Media Studies Group.

The study is based on data and information received from 255 districts of 28 states. Total number of districts surveyed represents for 40% of the total districts.
Media Studies Group received data and information on 14278 accredited journalists, reporters and editors from 255 districts in reference to social background of media persons working at the district level. This is the first in series of surveys by Media Studies Group about social background of the media persons working at district level at all India level.

Gross Gender Imbalance: Outcome of the survey provides important inputs particularly in reference to social structure of the Indian society and media. The study reveals the fact that there are on average 2.7% of female journalists working at district level. The number of total accredited female journalists at district level is a meager 329.

As per the findings of the survey it is found that at least 6 states and 2 union territories have zero percent (0%) of female journalists at the district level. These states include Assam, Jharkhand, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Orissa and Manipur and union territories of Puducherry and Daman & Diu. Information received from these states reveals that there is not a single female journalist working at district level. The information regarding the correspondents, reporters and editors is based upon the information received from 4 districts of Manipur, 6 districts of Arunachal Pradesh, 2 districts of Orissa, 10 districts of Assam, 3 districts of Nagaland, 6 districts of Jharkhand and one each from Puducherry and Daman & Diu.

The states having maximum percentage of accredited female journalists are Sikkim and Meghalaya from north eastern region of India. Percentage of female journalists working at district level in these states is 16.66 for each. The figures are based on the information received from 3 districts of Meghalaya and 2 districts of Sikkim. Each of the states has total 6 journalists with just one female.

Participation of female reporters, correspondents and editors working at district level in Bihar is 9.56% while in Chattisgarh it is 9.38%. We received data of 22 districts of Bihar and 8 districts of Chattisgarh. Total number of accredited journalists in Bihar is 251 out of which 24 are female whereas Chattisgarh has 32 journalists out of which only three are female.
Information from 16 districts is excluded from this survey because the data fetched from these districts did not mention male and female journalists separately. Therefore it was difficult to figure out exact number of female and male journalists. Because of absence of complete data 2099 correspondents, reporters and editors were excluded from this study.

Since the study was targeted at the district level accredited journalists at the state capitals were also not counted. Similarly journalists who are accredited with central government and working at National Capital Territory of Delhi were also excluded from the survey. However data from state capitals on accredited journalists at district level is included in the study.

The total number of accredited journalists in Andhra Pradesh is 9392 but information about social background of these journalists is available only of 7761 out of which 107 are female journalists. (see table 1) Guntoor district of Andhra Pradesh holds 967 accredited journalists out of which only one is female. There are 1146 accredited correspondents, reporters and editors in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh in which 29 are female journalists. There are 4 female journalists in Kaddappa district out of total accredited journalists of 1041. In Karim Nagar district there are 8 female journalists from a total number of 1035. With these figures Andhra Pradesh accounts for the maximum number of total accredited journalists.

2006 Study: Media Studies Group had conducted a detailed survey about the social background of media persons in 2006. The study showed that there were only 17% women in key positions in media organizations. English electronic media was found in a better position with having a greater participation of women with the figure of 32%. The survey was based on the top ten positions of 37 national media organizations situated in Delhi. In this survey total 315 posts were scrutinized. The study was published in “Chautha Panna.” (see table 6)


Table 1 : State and district wise pattern of women representation in media.
State Surveyed District Female Percent
Rajasthan 11 28 6.64
Punjab 12 3 3.95
Chattishgarh 8 3 9.36
Kerala 6 12 3.53
Tamil Nadu 6 1 0.99
W. Bengal 14 18 6.25
Maharashtra 12 35 5.69
Sikkim 2 1 16.67
Daman & Div 1 0 0
Karnataka 13 24 8.25
Meghalaya 3 1 16.67
Puducherry 1 0 0
Manipur 4 0 0
Arunachal Pradesh 6 0 0
Madhya Pradesh 20 13 3.24
Mizoram 1 1 3.23
Odisha 2 0 0
Assam 10 0 0
Nagaland 3 0 0
Andhra Pradesh 8 107 1.38
Gujarat 13 21 5.4
Tripura 2 4 3.64
Uttar Pradesh 23 17 3.55
Bihar 22 24 9.56
Uttarakhand 9 4 3.2
Haryana 10 9 4.59
Jharkhand 6 0 0
Himachal Pradesh 11 3 1.64
Total 239 329 2.7

Table 2: Accredited female correspondents\editors in top ten* national dailies.
News Paper Language Accredited
Female Jour.
Dainik jagran Hindi 1
Dainik bhaskar Hindi 1
Hindustan Hindi 1
Malyala manorama Malayalm 1
Amar ujala Hindi 0
The times of India English 1
Daily thanthi Tamil 0
Lokmat Marathi 3
Rajsthan patrika Hindi 1
Matribhoomi Malayalm 1


Table 3: Accredited female correspondents\editors in top ten* language dailies.
News Paper Language Accredited
Female Jour.
Malyala manorama Mal 1
Daily thanthi Tam 0
Lokmat Mar 3
Matrobhumi Mal 1
Enadu Tel 0
Anand bazar patrika Ben 0
Dinakaran Tam 0
Sakshi Tel 3
Gujrat samachar Guj 1
Daily sakal Mar 0

Table 4: District level accredited female journalists in top ten* Hindi dailies.
News Paper Accredited
Female Jour.
Dainik jagran 1
Dainik bhaskar 1
Hindustan 1
Amar ujala 0
Rajsthan patrika 1
Punjab kesari 3
Navbharat times 0
Prabhat khabar 0
Nai dunia 0
Patrika 0



Table 5: District level accredited female journalists in top ten* English dailies:

News Paper Accredited
Female Jour.
The Times of India 1
Hindustan Times 1
The Hindu 2
The Telegraph 1
Deccan Chronicle 0
The Economic Times 0
Mumbai mirror 0
The tribune 3
The new Indian express 0
*Source- IRS 2011 Q3

Table 6

Gender Profile Male Female
Print media Hindi 86 % 14 %
Print media English 84 % 16 %
Electronic media Hindi 89 % 11 %
Electronic media
English 68 % 32 %
Total 83 % 17
Source – Survey in 2006 by Media Studies Group and Yogendra yadav (CSDS)