Is the media too quiet about global gender inequality?

Is the media too quiet about global gender inequality?

Nowhere on Earth do women have as many opportunities as men—we state this openly in our Poverty is Sexist report. And while feminism is a hot topic in the United States these days, it is important to remember that gender inequality is global, and there needs to be a more inclusive discussion of women’s experiences everywhere. The current mainstream media coverage is not cutting it.

Women walk back to the Umoja village after collecting water from a nearby river, Samburu, Kenya on February 19, 2015.

Women walk back to the Umoja village after collecting water from a nearby river, Samburu, Kenya on February 19, 2015.

In a study conducted for ONE, researchers from Marquette University examined thousands of news articles in media from the United States and the United Kingdom for articles pertaining to gender inequality and feminism. Of these articles, only a mere 8% of US publications mentioned gender inequality issues on an international scale; while the UK fared slightly better at roughly 27% acknowledgment of global gender inequality issues.

Given that major publications from the US and UK often set the tone for news coverage across the globe, the absence of discussion regarding the issues and challenges women in the developing world face is unacceptable. It renders their suffering, and their successes, invisible.

15-year-old Eva Tolage and her classmates in Tanzania. (Photo credit: ONE/Restless Development)

15-year-old Eva Tolage and her classmates in Tanzania. (Photo credit: ONE/Restless Development)

When reporters cover women’s education, it is important to mention the need for increased access to STEM classes for young women, a major subject in American and European feminist circles. However, it is equally necessary to include the fact that 62 million girls around the world are currently being denied an education.

Healthcare and how we access it in developed nations is often a topic of heated debate on our political talk shows, but few are talking about the fact that 99 percent of maternal deaths occur in the developing world.

The battle to end sexism must be a global one. Media coverage of the issues women face everywhere will help everyone in both the short and long term by increasing awareness of how far we’ve all come together, and how far we still have to go.

If the whole truth is reported, it is clear that women everywhere are bearing consequences of sexism—but they are also working toward solutions. Whether they are running for officeteaching kids to code, or running their own urban farms, the information about the global efforts to end gender inequality is out there.

We just need to spread the word.

Raise your voice: Add your name to the Poverty is Sexist open letter today!

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