Ringier initiative fights to give women equal representation in media content

By Dr. Annabella Bassler

Ringier AG/EqualVoice

Zurich, Switzerland


According to the Global Media Monitoring Project 2016, 82% of all articles worldwide are about men. It is clear women are highly underrepresented in the media and that there are more women with stories worth hearing.

Our goal is to increase the visibility of women in the media, thus giving women and men an equal voice.

The EqualVoice initiative, initiated by myself, Ringier CFO Annabella Bassler, is led by publisher Michael Ringier and Ringier CEO Marc Walder. Equal representation of women and men in the media is supported by all members of the Ringier group executive board, the editors-in-chief, and the EqualVoice Advisory Board.

EqualVoice tools

The core of our initiative is the EqualVoice Factor. This measurement tool, developed in-house, evaluates the proportion of women and men in media articles.

The EqualVoice Factor consists of the Teaser Score, which measures how often women and men are mentioned in titles and headings of articles, and the Body Score, which identifies the proportion of the genders in the body copy’s paragraphs. This quantitative metric enables us to record and state progress and changes in our editorial offices over time.

The evaluations and key figures of the EqualVoice Factor are communicated regularly. The increased awareness of gender equality in our media brought about by the EqualVoice Factor has already led to initial successes, such as an increase in the teaser score at Handelszeitung from by 17% to 32%.

We already managed a roll-out to Poland in 2021, and a roll-out to East Europe (Romania, Hungary, Serbia, and Slovakia) is in progress. We offer the EqualVoice-Factor as a service to all media companies that would like to evaluate their own articles, nationally and internationally.

The topic of #BreaktheBias goes hand-in-hand with our initiative objectives. Breaking stereotypes and bias, thus getting rid of discrimination, is one of our focal topics. Only by being aware of unconscious biases and approaching them actively can we really treat people equally in our everyday lives.

Adjusted to this, we’ve set up the EqualVoice Fact. Gender discrimination does not only concern women. Men also face discrimination in several ways. The EqualVoice Fact considers the questions:

  • How are men portrayed in the media?
  • How can gender stereotypes of men be broken?

This can bring about a great improvement in qualitative results.

A time for action

The ball’s in our court. We, as media companies, are responsible for moving our society to be more open-minded and unbiased, thus making the system more contemporary and fair in the long term. It needs all of us — and it starts with you. This is why we at Ringier are continuously offering workshops to our journalists to train them how to get aware of unconscious biases and stereotyping and how to approach them to get rid of them.

On May 2, 2022, we held our first big event, the EqualVoice Summit, with the purpose of bringing the media industry closer together and introducing EqualVoice to make media companies familiar with the topic of gender equality.

This exclusive event provides us with the possibility to create an insightful exchange of experiences and thoughts about gender equality between people from completely different industries. We welcomed top-class guests on that day, such as Amal Clooney, Iris Bohnet, and Amy Macdonald.

Whether in media, economics, politics, or society overall, it takes all of us to make gender equality a reality. Let’s start now, together!

About Dr. Annabella Bassler

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