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  1. Email stories and comments to on Monday 23 November 2015
  2. Research found women only make up 24% of people heard about in the news
  3. Experts say it will take "at least three quarters of a century" to reach parity between the genders
  4. Women are most visible in the news in North America and least visible in the Middle East

Live Reporting

By Pippa Stephens, Elaine Okyere and Harry Low

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Thank you and goodbye from the 100 Women team

Henry Iddon

Thanks you to everyone who contributed to the discussion in London today.

You can continue following the debate using the #100Women and on our Facebook page. Do keep up with the latest stories here.

'We have to be journalists ourselves'

Kate O'Brian, president of Al Jazeera America said: "We in the news media have to be journalists ourselves. We need to examine what we are reporting inside. 

"We can't let it sit over there and not be talked about as a scary subject."

'We are on the cusp of something'

Ben de Pear at Channel 4 News says: "I think we are on the cusp of something as most of the promising journalists whose CVs I see are women." 

'News was developed by men for men'

Verashni Pillay, editor-in chief of the weekly Mail & Guardian newspaper, in South Africa, said: "Maybe we should be asking them why women don't read the newspaper?

"The way we do news was developed by men - and for men. For many years, the sites that are attracting more women - what are they doing differently?"

Female experts

Fran Unsworth, from BBC News, says "One of things we did at the BBC was set up a course for female experts to come along and practice with professionals to show it wasn't that scary.

"I think that is something, practically, the industry can do."

'Vicious cycle'

Capturing the debate

Cartoonist Dave Lewis has been capturing the key moments from the debate. 

Henry Iddon
Henry Iddon
Henry Iddon

A final look at the Twitter cloud - what you are saying

Are women letting down the news?

Emma Tucker at The Times says: "If we look at a short list for a job and there are no women - we ask 'why?' We like to plant the idea in people's heads they should apply for jobs.

"Women have to push themselves forward. Are women letting down the news by not pushing themselves hard enough?"

'Male-dominated news'

'Men can be old, grey, bald and ugly'

"I represented Miriam O'Reilly in her age case against the BBC," says one audience member.

"I find it frustrating men can be old grey, bald, ugly and they have gravitas.

"Women, on the other hand, are asked 'What are you going to do about your wrinkles when we have HD?' and 'Do you want a hair colour?'"

She added she believed the number of women over 60 at the BBC had reduced in the last few years.

Audience member

However, Fran Unsworth from BBC News said: "One in six of our female presenters are over 50 and the BBC has just made an international star out of an 80-year-old woman. I am talking about Mary Berry."

Women's Equality Party: 'No men' at launch

A representative from the Women's Equality Party says when she launched her policies, there was "not a single man to take up the invitation".

What you are saying

Word cloud

Debate heats up about TV appearances

The subject of why men are more confident when appearing on air than women is getting the panel fired up.

Panel at 100 Women
Henry Iddon

'Millennia of patriarchy'

Kate O'Brian at Al Jazeera says: "The millennia of patriarchy is something we all have to worry about."

She says if quotas are instilled, she is worried people will just tick the box. 

Channel 4 editor: You need to know what is on your news

Panellist Ben De Pear said he disagreed with Verashni Pillay's viewpoint that quotas are important.

He said: "I don't agree with quotas - I believe in monitoring and that is what we need to get right."

The panel

"You need to be aware this month we had X amount of men on and women on.

"We do this on Channel 4 - we have someone who goes through every minute of the show. You need to know what to do on your news so you're surprised by it."

'Quotas are important'

"What we're forgetting is that we're dealing with the effect of a millennia of patriarchy," says Verashni Pillay.

"The kind of women who are rising to the top of their game are of a very particular kind of woman. Women who are gutsy, who are ambitious, who are able to push through and muscle our way to the top. 

"I think quota systems are important."

Verashni Pillay

'Danger we will overdo it'

Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas, says: "There are many women who are top of their game and are being told they have got to get on TV or radio panels.

"There is a danger we will overdo it." 

'I had to be wooed' to write column

Elizabeth Plank, a senior correspondent from @micnews, said she had to be "wooed"  and encouraged by others to write her first column.

Speaking via video link, she said: "I came into journalism through the back door and had to be convinced I was good enough to write the piece.

"We live in a world where men's confidence levels are often inflated and that is bad. We need to make sure talented women are taking part."

Elizabeth Plank

Where is 100 Women being talked about?

Thanks to our social media team who have just sent us this map showing where 100 Women is being talked about around the world. Dizzying stuff! 

100 Women

'Gender blind'

Arab women 'need a voice'

Another audience member said: "As an Arab woman living in the UK, most of the news isn't relevant to me and it would be nice for the BBC to cover more Arab voices from the Middle East.

"I don’t think Palestinan or Arab women want to be portrayed as victims as I don't see us that way. I see us as women who are educated and do have a voice."

Audience member

What you are saying

'Media loves a lady villian'

Men 'take up more room'

One audience member pointed out men often physically take up more space than women - citing the way the panellist Ben De Pear was sitting on stage.

She said: "It's worth recognising in society women internalise their thoughts and don't take up a lot of space. It's been pointed out on social media, on trains and public transport.

The panel

"Men take up more space. It's a societal thing and we don't recognise that men do feel more entitled."

Audience member

'We are seeing women setting the agenda'

Elizabeth Plank, senior editor of @MicNews in the US says for a long time "women were waiting for men to let them in".

She adds: "You look at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr. These are female-dominated platforms. They are power users and use these platforms to speak to each other, build coalitions and mobilise. 

"We're seeing women setting the agenda. We're seeing many examples of women leading conversations and then driving that home."

'Recruitment helps'

Emma Tucker from The Times says one of things her paper has done - without any quotas - is boost the number of women, in positions including defence editor, head of news and crime editor.

Emma Tucker
Emma Tucker

  "We professionalised our recruitment."   

'More effort needed'

Audience member Sarah Macharia, from the Global Media Monitoring Project study, said: "We say news reflects the world. It does not reflect the world -  the world does not have 75% men and 25% women.

"There needs to be more effort into women being brought into the news agenda."

Sarah Macharia

'Ticking boxes'

'I won't put her in the corner'

Somayya Jabarti, Saudi Arabia's first female editor-in-chief, says: "I am against putting women in certain positions - tokenism is used and abused. There is no substance there.

Somayya Jabarti
Somayya Jabarti

"I would not have progressed if my editor was not enlightened. It is not men versus women. Women should not be separated in a section - it should be mainstream. I won't put her in a corner." 

'We need a diversity of voices'

'Treat women as intelligent human beings'

Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas, based in London said: "I get nervous about the notion we are ticking boxes on the news in terms of gender and not in terms of importance.

"Do you assume if you get women into those jobs it changes the nature of the news? Because that to me is very dangerous."

Claire Fox

She added: "We are not just one thing. We are people with politics and views and differences. We don't want to be treated as women but as intelligent human beings."


A cartoonist has been busily sketching Paula Escobar's thoughts during the debate.

Cartoon of Paula Escobar

Women as central focus

'Men more pushy'

Ben de Pear at Channel Four says: "We try to get a woman on where we can but we often find when we call up women and the woman might recommend a man. They are much less pushy to get themselves on television. Most blokes just say yes." 

Ben de Pear
Ben de Pear

"Women realise [the opportunity] but they are concerned more they are the right expert for the subject matter."

'Need to work hard to reach women'

Fran Unsworth, the deputy director of news and director of the World Service Group at BBC News, said the media had to work hard to reach out to women.

The panel

"It's about ensuring your editorial output is doing the stories which are of interest to women. You can argue the news is the news but there is an argument to what constitutes news.

"For an example there was a story about access to toilets in India and these are important stories."

Your thoughts

Here is a snapshot of your words so far during the debate in London. Should we all go and live in Denmark?

Word cloud

'People like to see real women'

Paula Escobar, runs Empresa Periodista, a group of magazines in Chile, and she launched a campaign against the use of Photoshop.

Her magazine does not use Photoshop to slim or enhance images. 

She said: "We decided to not use Photoshop - this campaign created an enormous impact."

Paula Escobar

"They told me 'you're crazy, you're going to lose advertisers and readers because women want to see stories about ideal women' but it is not real.

"People like to see real women of different ages."

Women don't make news 'unless they are dead'


Thanks to Gabby Carr on Facebook who bought up a sad facet up of news reporting on our 100 Women page.

She says women don't make the news "unless they are dead".

"Not only does it make for sad reading it also promotes fear in a 'lock up your daughters' kind of way."