Code for Nepal conducted a pilot research and data collection project in the first half of 2015 to assess the presence of women in Nepal’s online media.
Based on the data we gathered and reviewed, we found women are underrepresented in Nepali online media.
The main purpose of collecting this data was to look at the representation of female authors in the media and shed light on the existing gender divide in Nepali media. We also started to collect data because we could not find other related data.
The charts illustrate articles published in Nepali Times under the ‘Nation’ section in both 2004 and 2014, in order to see what differences surfaced after a decade. In the year 2004, male authors comprised 80.2% of the ‘Nation’ section, while women wrote only 19.8% of the published articles. Based on the articles reviewed, there was a huge gender divide in 2004.
However, the gap narrowed 10 years later. Based on the articles published in the year 2014, 46.2% of the articles published in ‘Nation’ section were written by female authors, while 53.8% were written by male authors.
And when we analyzed the Setopati opinion section in 2015, considering 101 pieces, only 18 of them were authored by women. That means only 17.8% of opinion pieces out of 101 pieces were published by female authors.
While the data is not extensive, this two publications show significant gender divides in the Nepali media industry.
There’s no excuse for Nepali media not to recruit more women journalists and publish articles from women authors.
A 2010 article by Yadav Baskota gives an overview of the underrepresentation of women in media in Nepal. According to his report, patriarchal culture is a major barrier.
Nepali society views women’s role as doing household work only. On top of that, women journalists get threats for publishing certain stories. And there is less support for women because of the lack of women in decision-making roles in the media field.
More needs to be done to bridge the gender divide in media and reporting, in order to produce more gender-related data that would help advocate for a bigger presence of women in the field.
We bring this data at a time when the role and status of women is being ignored in the final stages of the new constitution-making process. There is increasing dissatisfaction among women’s rights activists and many important members of the civil society in Nepal and the diaspora that the current reforms in the constitution have not signalled significant changes in the status quo of a highly male dominant Nepalese society.
Women in media can have a huge influence at a turning point like this.
We would like to expand our research and collect more data, if you would like to help us, please contact us. Also, let us know if you would like to use the data or find any errors.
Tell us in the comments what could be done to bridge the gender divide in Nepali media?
Data source: Google doc.