Last week, some of you may know that the New Statesman dedicated some time to talking about men.
Unfortunately interesting articles about masculinity and men's roles were hijacked in the comments by MRA types. But it was one comment in particular on the linked article above that caught my eye. It was from one Robert Taggart and said:
'This all makes an interesting change...
From talking about Women and their interminable 'problems' !'
Hmm, I thought. Does the New Statesman really spend all that much time talking about women and our interminable problems? And what are our interminable problems? Male violence against women and girls? Gendered nature of poverty? Cultural femicide? I mean, they're quite serious problems and although they get an airing on the New Statesman I wouldn't say the content was overwhelmingly biased to these issues.
But you know me - never one to trust a hunch. So I've spent a productive evening going through every single article featured on the New Statesman home page just to see how much space is given to women, and our interminable problems.
This isn't an attack on the New Statesman. It was just prompted by that comment. I read the website a lot and love the blogs.
Here are a few points to understand about my quick audit.
I came up with the following categories to measure gender diversity:
About 'women's problems' written by woman/women
About women's problems wrtten by man/men
About 'men's problems' writen my women/woman
About men's problems written by man/men
About non gendered issues, written by man/men
About non gendered issues, written by woman/women
About non gendered issues but focus is on man/men
About non gendered issues but focus is on woman/women
Article is illustrated by man/men
Article is illustrated by women/woman
Article is not illustrated
Article quotes men/man
Article quotes women/woman
Article is illustrated by mix of people or no people
Men and women are quoted in the article
There are no quotes in the article
The article doesn't focus on men or women/man or woman
No named author
No named quotes
I then looked at every article featured on the New Statesman home page at 7pm on Tuesday 29th May. If an article was linked to twice I only counted it once. There may be some errors where I forgot to count a 'no quotes' or 'no illustration'. Easy to miss!
I measured my categories as follows:
In the women's problems section I included: sex industry, representation of women, VAWG, women's poverty, child care, gender pay gap, feminism, women in conflict, women's health
In the men's problems section I included: masculinity, men's rights, health, men's unemployment, paternal rights, violence against men, representation of men
I counted as non gendered issues: economy, Leveson, global warming, Jewish history, UK politics, global politics, reviews, crime, migration issues, science and tech, business news,media, world affairs.
People who the article could be focusing on included: politicians, media types, judges, leaders, film directors, writers, scientists, business leaders, musician or other cultural types, interviewee who is a member of the public
So! What were the results?
Well, unsurprisingly, Robert Taggart's belief that the New Statesman talks too much about women wasn't true. Although none of the home page articles actually talked about men's problems specifically, men were dominant as writers, as quoted sources, as topic of the article and most articles were illustrated by men. Of the few articles illustrated by women one of them was a group of Playboy bunnies. No men were pictured in a sexualised manner needless to say!
About 'women's problems' written by woman/women 2
About women's problems wrtten by man/men 0
About 'men's problems' writen my women/woman 0
About men's problems written by man/men 0
About non gendered issues, written by man/men 43
About non gendered issues, written by woman/women 21
About non gendered issues but focus is on man/men 38
About non gendered issues but focus is on woman/women 9
Article is illustrated by man/men 31
Article is illustrated by women/woman 10
Article is not illustrated 4
Article quotes men/man 35
Article quotes women/woman 11
Article is illustrated by mix of people or no people 25
Men and women are quoted in the article 1
There are no quotes in the article 12
The article doesn't focus on men or women/man or woman 19
No named author 9
No named quotes 5
As you can see, over twice the number of articles are written by men. Nearly four times the number of articles focus on men rather than women. Men are illustrated over 3 times more than women. And the same number applies to quotes.
Proving that, on this day at least, men are being well represented by the New Statesman (and all the other news outlets) and women's problems, voices, faces and stories are, where they normally are - i.e. not very present.
Robert Taggart - take note.