Well, yes, OK

A hunch five years ago that the front pages of British newspapers were dominated by men prompted research that proved the hunch right: daily newspapers were full of male writers and voices.

Since then much has changed, not least the appointment of the UK’s second female prime minister, the first woman to run for the highest office in the US and, closer to home, the appointment of the first female editor-in-chief of the Guardian.

So has this seismic change led to a revolution in national newspaper front pages? No, according to a similar study to be released on Tuesday by the industry body Women in Journalism.

The WiJ research in 2012 found that 78% of all front page bylines were male. This year, a similar exercise over two six-week periods revealed that men were still writing 75% of all front page stories.

And the wibble in the middle of the paper chewing over what it all means for society is largely written by?

It’s almost as if there were a gender disparity, on average of course, over what people like to talk about, are interested in.

Don’t forget, if there must be gender parity in everything then 50% of the pieces about abortion should be written by men too.

14 thoughts on “Well, yes, OK”

  1. I wonder what the gender mix of writers in the lifestyle section is? There’s still plenty of Polly Fillas in the middle pages too.

    This is just another example of differing male/female preferences being disingenuously characterised as sexism.

  2. The more you drill down, the more gender imbalance you find. Conversely, if you cast a wider net, you find less imbalance. Just a few days ago, the Guardian told us that the publishing industry is some 84% female. And I suspect the magazine industry skews female too.

  3. john77,
    Yep; but if you cast a wider net, e.g. all council employees, rather than just dustmen, you’ll find a more even balance. The male roles (e.g. dustmen) tend to get outsourced, whereas the female roles (e.g. social care) tend to remain in-house.

    I first noticed this on a report on gender balance in medicine. Doctors have a fairly even gender balance; but if you drill down into the specialties, you find that surgeons and radiologists skew male, whereas paediatricians and gynecologists skew female. The usual suspects cherry-pick figures and concoct manufactured outrage about the persistence of gendered stereotypes.

    A similar phenomenon applies in law: the profession is practically 50:50 male/female, but family & children law skews female, criminal justice skews male.

  4. @ Andrew M
    Council Social Work staff are skewed female but the skew is a modest fraction of that among dustmen. Paid carers, who are overwhelmingly female, are also outsourced [unpaid carers are mostly but not overwhelmingly female]. The gender imbalance in the public sector is in favour of women although women make up a minority of the total workforce.
    My point was that while the usual suspects cherrypick figures to concoct outrage they never complain about men doing the unpleasant jobs while women sit comfortably in offices.

  5. “they never complain about men doing the unpleasant jobs while women sit comfortably in offices.”

    But sitting in offices is bad for your health while being out in the open air taking exercise is good for it. It’s just not fair!

  6. @deaerieme
    Taking *gentle* exercise is good for you health. e.g. Walking for half-an-hour (they say walking “briskly” but their definition of “briskly” covers walking slower than my (70+) normal walking speed). Hefting umpteen full wheely bins is not gentle exercise.

  7. “Hefting umpteen full wheely bins is not gentle exercise.” Hefting them? They’re doing it wrong. Our chaps just wheel them to the big gizmo on the back of the lorry that hefts them.

    When we lived in Oz local part-time pro footballers were often bin men; they reckoned it as paid training.

  8. Who still does hump large things about? Removals men, I suppose. Forestry is pretty strenuous. Fishermen. Warehousemen. Yes, they have forklifts but there’s still a lot of manual lifting.

    When I was 16 and 17 I got a summer job in a Tesco’s bakery. Every other day three tons of flour would arrive in the warehouse and the job of putting it on the ready shelves for the bakers was given to the junior squit, i.e. me. Lifting 60 50kg sacks and hoiking them onto a shelf, sometimes 8′ in the air, was a tremendous upper-body workout. I put on 15kg of muscle mass. I wonder if H&S would allow a 16-year-old to do that these days. I wouldn’t mind betting that the fact my rotator cuffs are buggered has something to do with it.

  9. @ dearieme
    Our guys have to shift them from where the houseowner has left them and lift them onto the lift platforms that are used to tip stuff into the lorry. Maybe Cambridge has lorries with lift plaforms that lie flat on the road but around here they do not so the guys have to lift the wheely-bins. Local council says that the bins have to be left “at the edge of the property” so the binmen may have to heft them up a step or two where an ex-council house is several steps down from the road (we have more hills than Cambridge).
    Maybe paid training for non-league pro-footballers but more suited to Rugby League than Association Football – did you ask them whether they played soccer or Oz rules rugby?

  10. “When I was 16 and 17 I got a summer job … ”

    About a hundredweight then. At that age I did the same thing with bags of cement. Filthy bloody work when your pores are open on a July day but well paid for a teenager. We had to unload the boat in time for the tide. Mind you I might have got up at 5 a.m. to help moor her. Even better pay, if measured by the hour. Them wuz the days …

  11. @ dearieme
    Between university entrance exams and going up one of my pals, who got an exhibition, got a job as a labourer with a firm building a motorway and I got a job as computer programmer. He earned more than twice as much as I did.

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