What Twitter Tells Us About the Gender Gap in the Media: We Don’t Listen to Women

In honor of Mother’s Day, Elmira Bayrasli wrote a post on her Forbes Blog, Entreventures,  about the Twitter gender gap and what it reveals about the absence of women in the media.

Bayrasli begins by citing statistics gather by VIDA, which showed the preponderance of male bylines in magazines such as The Atlantic, The New Republic, Harper’s and The New Yorker, and the results of the OpEd Project’s  most recent byline survey, which found women author around 20% of op-eds in major print publications. Time and time again, this gender gap in opinion journalism is attributed to consistently lower female submissions. According to Bayrasli, that explanation is far from sufficient.

“The argument that females don’t raise their hands as often as men makes sense only when men and women are in the same room. It is a room where female hands tend to be bound, at times involuntarily. That is especially true in rooms where the conversation is about finance, economics and, to less extent, politics. Men dominate those topics, rarely leaving space for women to engage in the conversation, however much we do engage. And we do.”

Using Twitter statistics gathered by the Harvard Business School to back up her argument, Bayrasli insists that women still face many obstacles in getting their voices heard. The Harvard Study found that even though more women use twitter then men, men average 15% more followers than women.

Shrugging the gender gap off as a problem that will take care of itself will only perpetuate the problem. According to Bayrasli, it is self-awareness of the attitudes and conventions we have about gender that will bring change. If you have a story or argument about struggling, or succeeding in getting your voice heard, now is your chance to voice it!

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