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    Women still under-represented in French-speaking Belgian press

    Fewer than 20% of contributors to the French-speaking Belgian press are female, reveals the “diversity barometer” established by AJP (Belgian Association of Professional Journalists) and published in Brussels on Monday. These results are “striking,” say Isabelle Simonis and Jean-Claude Marcourt, the ministers responsible for the press. Women represent only 17.31% of contributors cited in French-speaking Belgian daily papers, which is way below the 24% world average of the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP).

    Women are better represented in items dealing with “education/upbringing” (where 36.84%   of contributors are female), “health/well-being” (36.46%), and local news (30.14%). On the other side of the spectrum, they are almost absent from news items dealing with “sport” (6.93%), and are responsible for less than 20% of contributions  when it comes to “politics,” “economy/finance,” “environmental issues,” and “tributes.”

    This trend is identical to the one concerning news professionals. Only 13.84% of journalists at daily papers are women, the same proportion as for spokespersons and association representatives (14.03%). As well as being underrepresented, they are not treated equally by the media, points out the barometer. Indeed, whereas 84% of men are fully identified (last name, first name, profession), 41% of women are identified solely by their first names.

    The barometer is established by studying 6 daily publications (Le Soir, La Libre, Nord Eclair, Metro, La Dernière Heure, and Le Courrier de l’Escaut), representing 2,142 articles and over 9,500 contributions, over 3 random days between October 2013 and August 2014.

    Oscar Schneider (Source: Belga)