"EqualVoice" initiative to increase women's visibility in media coverage

In its capacity as an international media corporation, the Ringier Group uses its journalistic and technological influence to advocate gender equality. Today, the company launched a new initiative titled EqualVoice. It aims to increase the visibility of women in the media and give them an equal voice. 

The project, initiated by the CFO Annabella Bassler, is headed by the publisher Michael Ringier and the CEO Marc Walder. The Advisory Board consists of: Simona Scarpaleggia (CEO at EDGE, Board Member at Autogrill and Board Member at Hornbach), David Allemann (CEO and Co-Founder On), Nicole Burth (Board Member and Chairperson of the Compensation and Nomination Committee at Ascom Holding AG), Ingrid Deltenre (Media Manager and Board Member), Christiane zu Salm (Media Entrepreneur and Advisor), Franziska Tschudi Sauber (CEO Weidmann Holding AG), Tanja Grandits (2-Michelin stars Chef & awarded "Chef of the Year 2019"), Carolina Müller-Möhl (President of the Müller-Möhl Foundation), Dr. Sabine Keller-Busse (Group Chief Operating Officer and President UBS Europe, Middle East and Africa), Pascale Baeriswyl (Head of the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations in New York) and Yann Borgstedt (Entrepreneur and founder of the Womanity Foundation). 

As much as 75% of all Swiss media reports are about men. According to the Global Media Monitoring Project 2016, the global figure is as high as 82%. Little has changed over the past three years: Blick.ch currently reports about men in 75% of its articles. This raises questions: are there no women worth reporting on? Do men make for better headlines? Or is the skewed media portrayal simply a mirror of the labour market, where women are still under-represented in the boardrooms? Academics have coined the term ‘gender content gap’ to describe the phenomenon. It is a widely discussed issue that frequently comes up at Ringier, a globally active media corporation.

The entire initiative is based on the ‘EqualVoice factor’, a metric that indicates the visibility of men and women on the websites of Ringier and Ringier Axel Springer Switzerland. Katia Murmann, Chief Editor of Blick Digital, commented: ‘For each website, Ringier analyses its own data tool, Sherlock, the number of articles on women and men, and the number of articles on the subject.’ It then produces two scores: the ‘teaser score’, which evaluates the representation of women in images, headlines and leads on the Ringier websites, and the ‘body score’, which analyses the article texts in terms of the male and female voices included. Amazon Rekognition automatically detects and analyses the people depicted on the websites. The data experts and editors of Ringier regularly examine the accuracy of the algorithms and the quality of the collected data to ensure that the artificial intelligence continually acquires new knowledge.

The editorial teams at Ringier have been exploring equal media representation for quite some time. BLICK regularly produces features about issues that are relevant to women. Together with the SRF and Wikipedia, the Chief Editor of Blick.ch, Katia Murmann, initiated the ‘Wikipedia Edit-a-thon’, aimed at increasing the number of women’s biographies available on the popular website.

A team of editors working for the Beobachter magazine regularly evaluates the gender balance in its reports and raises the subject during editorial meetings. At Schweizer Illustrierte and in the Swiss business media, equality is a hot topic, too.

On November 25, the EqualVoice initiative was formally presented to all Ringier employees during a kick-off event. All editorial departments will appoint a project team that will explore the question: what does EqualVoice entail for the publication in question, and how can we implement EqualVoice in our daily work?

Ringier will be sharing the evaluations and key indicators of the EqualVoice factor with its employees on a regular basis and publish them in the Ringier AG annual report from 2020. 

 

EqualVoice initiative

EqualVoice Kickoff

EqualVoice Advisory Board | Kick-Off Meeting

 

EqualVoice press release

Interview with Annabella Bassler (in German)

To the press release Additions to the Advisory Board of the EqualVoice Initiative