September 08, 2013

Where are the women in the ‘top talent’ media lists?


The popular online magazine The Drum recently compiled their list of the “top talents” working in the UK digital industry earlier in the week called the Drum Digerati.

The list is long; over 200 people long. Have a look. And as you scroll, I wonder if you came to the same realisation as me: it is pretty much ALL men, with a very light sprinkling of female talent wedged in between the sea of business suits, or facial hair.

Out of the 216 total candidates, only 34 of these are women. (My maths is not the best but I make that less than 16%). 

By the way – I’m not expecting every single talent list to be a rounded 50/50 split. Sometimes it is truly the case that there are more men than women who are high achievers in a certain field. Sometimes women sweep the awards in other fields. But for the digital media industry in 2013? I would definitely expect most ‘top talent’ lists to include a pretty even balance of men vs women leaders.

It isn’t the first time this year I’ve been surprised at the men vs women ratio in the ‘top talent’ list. In this year’s Media Guardian top 10 ‘under 40’s, 8 were men, and 2 were women. Only 1 of which was a woman and from the UK (get on Caitlin Moran). The more shocking part was the full list of 100, only 19 of these are women.

What is the common theme here? Women apparently only make up 20% (or less) of the digital media talent circle at the moment. The thing is I don’t believe there aren’t more women in digital media who are leading the way in innovation and digital media. I guess the question is, have these publications just been leaving the women out, or is this truly reflective of the current industry? Both are quite depressing thoughts.

It is interesting to see The Drum highlighted the top 30 under 30 of women in digital in 2012, however this number hasn’t really increased or been properly represented in the total number of this year’s #Digerati. also compiled a list earlier this year of 50 female innovators in digital journalism which includes editor in chief Carla Buzasi on the Huffington Post UK, Joanna Geary who heads up the social communities for the Guardian and numerous women who have built successful start-up digital companies, (all of which aren’t mentioned in the Drum list.) Interesting to note that this list also includes many US female leaders, with a lot of them winning social media awards for producing thought leadership pieces (cue Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In).

Do you think women are being underrepresented in the UK media top talent lists?  Let me know your thoughts.

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