Tag Archives: Guardian

Has gender representation in tech reporting got any better?

An open-plan newsroom

Back in March we found that women were not only underrepresented in the tech industry, but among the journalists writing about it as well. What we found was genuinely surprising: At the Guardian just one in five tech articles was written by a woman, whilst at the Daily Mail more articles were written by women than by men.

So, two months on with a much larger sample size, how has the gender balance changed?

Actually, for the most part, it’s got better.

Telegraph wins ‘most improved’

Every news outlet we studied got at least a little bit better, with an increased number of women making up their tech authors. Three sites had increased their female representation by over 20%.

The prize for most improved goes to the Telegraph, leaping from 46% of articles written by women in February, to 59% in April. This represents an increase of 27%. Did we have something to do with that? Probably.

The Guardian and Wired also saw the percentage of female tech reporters rise.

The Daily Mail had the largest female representation in March, and remains much the same on around 54%. Buzzfeed is also largely unchanged at 46%.

Although the Guardian increased the share of articles written by women from 19.6% to 23.7%, this is a small improvement that sees them still lag some way behind their tabloid rivals.

How many reporters are female?

The male dominance in tech journalism is clear when looking at the number of reporters for each site. Only two of the news outlets we looked at have more women than men writing about tech: Buzzfeed and the Mail.

Surprisingly, based on the articles in our sample, the Telegraph has the most skewed gender balance in the newsroom. Just 32% of their tech writers are female – but those writers have produced 58% of the articles.

What difference does it make?

Do investigations like these have any impact on gender representation? Well, as Google said when they released their diversity report last June:

“It is hard to address these kinds of challenges if you’re not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts.

 

What do you think? Get in touch with us @ProjectAda_ or leave a comment below.

Here’s how The Daily Mail beats The Guardian at gender equality

An open-plan newsroom

Women aren’t just underrepresented in the tech workforce, but also among the journalists writing about tech, shows an analysis by Project Ada.

Less than one in five articles on the Guardian’s tech section in 2015 were written by a female journalist.

How many women are writing about technology?

Project Ada decided to find out, as studies have shown that men dominate newspaper bylines. We scraped a total of 1507 articles from the tech sections of seven news sites, to check the gender of the authors.

The result? On average just under 40 per cent of the people writing about technology are women.

But what’s really interesting is the spread. The Guardian had just 19.6 per cent female authors, and the Mirror roughly one-third.

Daily Mail Online was the only site to have more women than men writing about tech, with 53.7 per cent female bylines.

An open-plan newsroom

(Photo: David Sim/Flickr)

“Although we have seen an increase in the number of female editorial staff over the past years, we recognise that more needs to be done to ensure this continued,” commented a spokesperson from the Guardian’s press office.

Most tech authors are male

These figures are reflected in the number of writers for each site. Only Buzzfeed and Mail Online had more female writers than male writers. Of the articles we analysed, The Guardian had just 26 female authors, compared to 48 male authors.

The number of female reporters at the Mirror in January and February 2015 was in single figures at just eight, compared to 24 male reporters.

This may have something to do with readerships of each news site. The Daily Mail is the only national daily newspaper to have more female readers than male readers, admittedly at a 52.5/47.5 per cent split.

The Telegraph, Guardian and Mirror all have more male readers than female readers, according to The Media Briefing.

Change may be on the way, though, according to the Guardian.

“We are committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion across all aspects of our business,” said a Guardian spokesperson, adding that the organisation is trying to increase diversity through programmes such as their women’s mentoring scheme and the Scott Trust bursary scheme.

Get the data.

Written by Sam Walsh and Clara Guibourg

Tanya Cordrey: Progress for women in tech has stagnated

tanya_guardian

Tanya Cordrey, the Guardian‘s chief digital officer, is a leading figure in innovating the way we consume information online.

She’s in charge of engineering the Guardian’s digital product, using data analytics and testing labs to improve user experience.

One of the joys of working in digital media is that “you learn something almost every day,”  according to Cordrey. She emphasises the importance of “developing in the open,” with the launch of the Guardian‘s new website last Wednesday, stressing how essential it is to use tests to continually improve your product.

“Over the years I have become a complete evangelist around developing in the open – I’m a big believer that getting feedback and constantly learning from it is a really important process.”

tanya cordrey digital officer guardian observer

What’s the situation for women in tech?

Cordrey reflected on the “sad” reality that there are still many barriers for women looking to build a career in the technology industry.

“One can always think back on your career and there are probably several instances of things that have happened that I feel grieved about when I was treated a certain way because I was a woman.”

For example, when she had a child, her working hours shifted – coming in earlier in the morning, leaving at five to pick up her baby, and then working online after.

Colleagues had warned her that she was “putting my career on hold” while working fewer hours to look after her child. She said that leaving the office to pick up her daughter would be seen with disapproval:

There’s a kind of macho culture at the office of who can stay the latest

“What is more damaging and more pervasive is those constant everyday things: when you see women not getting invites to contribute as much; or women being described in different ways to men.

“If a man is described as ‘forthright’ or ‘decisive’, sometimes a woman can be described as ‘strident’ or ‘bossy’.

“It’s just that sort of underlying pervasiveness of it, not just in technology but in society overall.”

I’m not sure it’s got any better over the last few decades

On the working conditions for women in tech, she said that progress had stagnated. She described it as “sad”, adding: “I’m not sure it’s really got any better over the last few decades.”

Cordrey’s teenage daughter is coming up to the age where she starts looking for a job. “The truth is,” she said, “I’m not sure my daughter’s going to experience huge improvements being a woman entering society – because I’m not sure over the last twenty years, things have actually got that much better.”

When asked about why there are more male than female applicants for technological roles, Cordrey said that the “problem starts at a very young age”.

Her daughter has been to coding classes where, Cordrey thinks, she may have been the only girl.

There’s something going wrong at a very early age – where young girls are not being encouraged to do these activities

“There’s something going wrong at a very early age – where many young girls are not really drawn or being encouraged to do these activities. To help stop the problem we have to work when people are very young.”

guardian observer office kings place london

Photo: Bryantbob

So what can we do?

“I think that many people – both men and women – are doing a great job. They’re often humble and don’t think to stand up and be counted as a role model, but I would encourage all women who work in technology to take a deep breath and realise that they are role models.”

She would encourage them “to do what they can – put themselves forward to speak at conferences, put themselves forward to help organise events, put themselves forward to mentor younger women in the organisation or help with graduate recruitment programmes.”

I encourage all women who work in technology to take a deep breath and realise that they are role models

There are, of course, challenges with this – such as the “utterly depressing” abuse that women can get when they decide to be high profile on places such as Twitter.

She said it is also important to “give lots of support to the men you work with as well, because I know there are many men in the industry who are also despairing over the low numbers of women and are keen to address that.”

What does the future hold?

Looking forward to the future in digital media, Cordrey sees women playing a vital role.

It’s a “very exciting time” in the industry – with expansions in video, new forms of storytelling and user-focused innovations in design and interface.

Cordrey is confident that there will be greater equality for women in tech in the future. She is sure that women will be playing a “really important part” in tackling “all of these wonderful challenges ahead of us”.