World Association of News Publishers

WAN-IFRA joins forces with United for News' coalition to combat the lack of gender diversity in news reporting.

WAN-IFRA joins forces with United for News' coalition to combat the lack of gender diversity in news reporting.

Davos – 2019-01-23

Globally, only 24% of people heard, seen or read about in newspaper, television, and radio news are women and only 19% of experts sourced in news stories are women (according to the Global Media Monitoring Project, 2015 report). These alarming rates have changed very little in two decades. Today, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, United for News, a global multi-stakeholder coalition of media, private industry, and NGOs, is announcing pilot programmes in Canada, Iraq and Ukraine to address this unacceptable deficit.

Women are unseen for their expertise and relevance in the conversations that inform and shape our daily lives. At the same time media is undergoing a crisis in trust worldwide. From the boom in disinformation operations to the imminent spread of misinformation online, readers don’t know where to turn for balanced, objective news. This has dire consequences for the media industry’s ability to inform the public, hold governments to account and support healthy communities and economies. Changing this deficit will help build trust in the news media, by making news more reflective of the communities it serves.  

United for News is working on the demand side to provide newsrooms with the resources necessary to increase the number and frequency of female subject matter experts that are sourced in stories.  On the supply side, the coalition is working to raise awareness around the issue and provide support for women experts to step forward. 


In 2019, United for News will pilot programmes and test approaches in Canada, Ukraine, and Iraq. In Canada, a committee of top newsrooms will launch a collaborative process, building on best practices and testing solutions that will significantly amplify women’s authoritative voice.  In Ukraine and Iraq, Internews will test approaches based on a series of tools pioneered by United for News members. The approaches will be adapted to the needs of the local newsrooms, working in a way that respects cultural challenges and constraints while maintaining a clear goal of raising women’s voices.

 “When women’s authoritative voices make up only 19% of the global conversation, we all lose.  We lose diverse opinions, new ideas, sources of insight and creativity and, most of all, powerful role models for the next generation to build on,” said Jennifer Cobb, Director of United for News. “Our members are working together to address this massive gap, pooling their experiences and insights from a wide range of perspectives.  We believe this is a powerful step forward that can have lasting impact and encourage newsrooms everywhere to join us in this endeavor.” 

United for News is led by the international non-profit, Internews, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. Coalition members advising this work include WAN-IFRA, Bloomberg, Edelman, the BBC’s 50:50 Project and the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD).

To learn how you or your organisation can be involved or for updates on the initiative sign-up at 

ABOUT UNITED FOR NEWS United for News is a non-profit, mission-driven coalition founded by Internews in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. The coalition includes a diverse range of stakeholders from across the media and advertising industries with a shared vision of a world where everyone, everywhere has access to the trusted information they need to make good decisions for themselves, hold their governments to account, and achieve their human potential.  United for News understands the factors excluding women experts from media are complex and cannot be solved by newsrooms alone. Achieving parity for women’s voices requires the coordinated intervention of a diverse set of stakeholders – from media to the private sector, academia and the NGO community.  To this end, United for News seeks the collaboration and commitment of partners across the globe.

ABOUT WAN-IFRA WAN-IFRA is the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers. Its mission is to protect the rights of journalists and publishers around the world to operate independent media. WAN-IFRA provides its members with expertise and services to innovate and prosper in a digital world and perform their crucial role in society. With formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe, it derives its authority from its global network of leading news publishing companies and technology entrepreneurs, and its legitimacy from its 80 national association members representing 18,000 publications in 120 countries.

ABOUT WAN-IFRA PRESS FREEDOM AND MEDIA DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES  Increasing media freedom directly strengthens democracy and human rights is a foundation of societal development - be it economic, cultural or political. This has been a guiding principle of WAN-IFRA for seven decades of global advocacy and development work. WAN-IFRA responds to requests for support from its membership base and also implements long-term advocacy and development initiatives.  Advocacy actions are coordinated through WAN-IFRA’s growing network of Media Freedom Committees and include campaigns, coordinated press freedom missions, awareness raising, and public events to strengthen safety and protection, legal and regulatory frameworks, reduce censorship and confront other challenges to the editorial and economic independence of media.

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