The Press Awards shortlist was announced this week. In a time where a broad range of people can be found in all corners of the industry, and in greater and greater numbers, you would think that they would be pretty representative.
You’d be wrong.
Of the 114 shortlisted names, 20 were women – just over 17 per cent. Four weren’t white. To put this into perspective, seven men named Simon were nominated. Six categories had just one female nominee, and a further six had none at all.
This doesn’t reflect how diverse and exciting so many of the voices in the media are. It’s not like women aren’t eligible for the awards – there are women writing news, business, politics, sports and more, from every point of the political spectrum. BME women, LGBTQ women, disabled women are all making waves in the trade. So why aren’t we recognising them?
The world's 15 most powerful women in 2015
The world's 15 most powerful women in 2015
1/15 Angela Merkel - German Chancellor
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has retained her number one ranking for topping this year’s Forbes list for the fifth consecutive year and ten times in total.
2/15 Hillary Clinton - Presidential candidate, United States
Clinton, who could become the world’s most powerful leader in 2016, has been featured on the list every year since it launched in 2014.
3/15 Melinda Gates - Cochair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Melinda Gates has cemented her dominance in philanthropy and global development to the tune of $3.9 billion in giving in 2014 and more than $33 billion in grant payments since she founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with her husband in 2000.
4/15 Janet Yellen - Chair, Federal Reserve, Washington, United States
Janet Yellen made history in 2014 when she became the first female head of the Federal Reserve.
5/15 Marry Barra - CEO of General Motors
Mary Barra made history by becoming the first female CEO of General Motors.
6/15 Christina Lagarde - Managing director, International Monetary Fund
Christine Lagarde is entering the last year of her first term heading the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the organisation which serves as economic advisor and backstop for 188 countries. Under Lagarde the IMF has supported efforts to increase female labor force participation as way to reduce poverty and inequality. The UK, Germany, China, France and Korea have endorsed Christine Lagarde for another term as the head of the IMF.
7/15 Dilma Rousseff - President, Brazil
Dilma Rousseff, who has been elected in 2010, is Brazil's first female president.
8/15 Sheryl Sandberg - COO of Facebook
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and author of bestseller “Lean In,” joined the company in 2008 and became the first woman on its board four years later. Sandberg helped the social network go public and expand digital revenue.
9/15 Susan Wojcicki - CEO of Youtube
Susan Wojcicki is CEO of YouTube, the world’s most popular digital video platform used by over a billion people across the globe. She oversees YouTube's content and business operations, engineering, and product development.
10/15 Michelle Obama - First lady, United States
Michelle Obama, the 44th first lady of the United States has focused her attention on issues such as the support of military families, helping working women balance career and family and encouraging national service.
11/15 Park Geun-hye - President, South Korea
Park Geun-hye is the first female leader of a country that has the highest level of gender inequality in the developed world. In her inauguration speech, she promised to prioritise both national security and economic revitalisation.
12/15 Oprah Winfrey - Actress, Director/Producer, Entrepreneur, Personality, Philanthropist
Oprah Winfrey, a former queen of daytime TV has proven she can thrive without a talkshow. Her 'The Life You Want' tour sold out stadiums from Newark to Seattle in 2014.
13/15 Ginni Rometty - CEO of IBM
Ginni Rometty joined IBM in 1981 and later became the first woman to lead the company.
14/15 Meg Whitman - CEO of Hewlett-Packard
Meg Whitman is the only woman to have headed two large U.S. public companies: eBay and Hewlett-Packard.Until Marissa Mayer's arrival at Yahoo, she was the only female head of a leading Internet-based company.
15/15 Indra Nooyi - CEO of PepsiCo
Indra Nooyi is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo. Mrs. Nooyi leads one of the world’s largest convenient food and beverage companies, with 2008 annual revenues of more than $43 billion.
It’s no surprise, of course – it’s symptomatic of a wider problem – but that doesn’t mean we should accept it. That's why I and four other female journalists decided to set up the Words by Women Awards. We hope it will go some way to address the astonishing gender imbalance of events like the Press Awards. At the very least, it will provide women with a welcoming and inclusive environment in which they can celebrate their own vital contributions to the media landscape.
And this is not simply an issue of recognising the brilliant work women can and often do. It’s also about the type of media we want to have. News outlets need to reflect their readers, and very rarely are those readers uniformly white men. If the media doesn't represent the society it is part of, how can it report and comment on it properly? Journalists of varied backgrounds are able to write more interesting and challenging articles, and we all benefit when a range of talent is celebrated. If we can promote the work of many different kinds of people, the media industry benefits, readers benefit, and so does society.
It is this belief that led to us creating the Words by Women Awards, and we’re really excited to learn more about the journalists they will celebrate. Nominations are now open, so if there are any women journalists you regard as an unsung hero, submit them to us – or submit yourself! It might be the start of something very exciting for them, and a sea of change in the industry as a whole.
To find out more about the Words by Women Awards go to: twitter.com/WBWAwards