When it comes to English online news, women appear more in images than men while men are mentioned more in text than women, interesting research that analysed over two million articles to find out how gender is represented in online news has revelaled.
A breakdown of topics showed that women feature more in articles about fashion, followed by entertainment and art while being least present in topics including sport and politics.
It has long been argued that women are under-represented and marginalised in relation to men in the world’s news media.
Using artificial intelligence (AI), the largest-ever study done by a team from University of Bristol found that men’s views and voices are represented more in online news than women’s.
“The analysis of millions of articles and images is one of the ways in which modern AI can help scientific research,” said professor of artificial intelligence Nello Cristianini from university’s department of engineering mathematics in a paper appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.
A team of AI experts led by Cristianini teamed up with social scientist Dr Cynthia Carter from Cardiff University to ask a very old question on a very new scale.
The team gathered a body of news consisting of 2,353,652 articles collected over a period of six months from more than 950 different English news outlets.
From this dataset, they extracted 2,171,239 references to named persons and 1,376,824 images resolving the gender of names and faces using AI.
The researchers found that males were represented more often than females in both images and text, but in proportions that changed across topics, news outlets and style.
Additionally, the proportion of females was consistently higher in images than in text for virtually all topics and news outlets.
Women were more likely to be represented visually than mentioned as a news actor or source.
“The analysis supports feminist researchers’ longstanding claim that the marginalisation of women’s voices in the news media under-values their potential contributions to society, and in the processes, diminishes democracy,” explained Dr Carter.