By Leila Fataar
Media has an important role to play in pushing things forward at scale - from updating narratives to building communities and shaping public opinion. And in an AI and content dominated future, much more needs to be done to tackle mis- and disinformation, bias and stereotype. We have seen where mainstream media might frame information around a political or financial agenda.
The truth and the full story has never been more important.
I believe brands, education systems, companies and relevant organisations must take a leading role in helping teach and embed key new world soft skills like critical thinking, digital literacy and empathy as content across channels becomes even harder to verify.
The need for credible new media outlets
Having worked in advertising, marketing and communications for almost three decades, I have both seen and been part of the fragmentation of ‘information sharing’ from print, to online, to social and more.
New media can foster a sense of community and belonging for their respective audiences. They can provide a platform for nuanced voices to be heard and shine a light on important issues that might otherwise be ignored by the mainstream media.
Turning to women-focused media specifically, The Mix and HURS study this year highlighted some key issues in the style media space.
66% of women feel that women are discriminated against in the media at large.
Only 21% of women feel positive about how content addresses women in digital or print articles.
53% of women have negative feelings towards how women are addressed in the media.
40% of women say women's style media affects their self-esteem due to the "constant demand for self-improvement."
Only a quarter (26%) of women come away from reading content feeling inspired.
These findings are clear: the current state of womens style media is not working for women. It’s making them feel worse about themselves, and it is not inspiring them.
Reasons to protect and champion women-led new media outlets
First, it provides a platform for women to share their stories and perspectives. Women have unique experiences and insights that are often overlooked and women-led media can help to ensure that these voices are heard.
Second, women-led media can challenge stereotypes about women by providing a more accurate and nuanced view of women, by women.
Third, women-led media can promote gender equality. When the media portrays women in a positive light, it can help to shift public attitudes towards women and to promote gender equality for everyone.
Another important step is to create more opportunities for women to work in the style media industry. This can be done by supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives, and by hiring more women in leadership positions. It’s also important to provide training and mentorship opportunities for women who are interested in working in the style media industry.
The Future of Women-Led Media
Despite the challenges facing women-led media, there is reason to be optimistic about the future.
The future of women-led media is bright. With the increasing demand for diverse and inclusive content, women-led media outlets are well-positioned to succeed. They’re providing a much-needed alternative to the mainstream media, and they are helping to make the world a more equitable place for women.
There are a number of new and emerging media companies that are challenging the status quo and providing a credible platform for women's voices. They’re using the power of the internet to reach a global audience, and with it are breaking down the barriers that have traditionally prevented women from succeeding in the media industry.
In a world where the mainstream media is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few large corporations by taking steps to support women-led style media and to create more opportunities for women in the media industry, we can help to ensure that women's voices are heard and that women's issues are represented.