Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) Reveals Disconcerting Gender Disparity in South African Media Coverage



Johannesburg, 5 September 2023 – In a recent analysis, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) has shed light on the alarming gender disparity in South African media coverage. The analysis, which analyses media representation of women in various topics dominating headlines from January to June 2023, underscores the urgent need for change in media practices.




Over the past months, South Africa has grappled with numerous critical issues, including loadshedding, the Thabo Bester saga, and a Cholera outbreak. These topics have taken centre stage in media coverage, sparking public debate and concern. While many South Africans seek to voice their opinions on these pressing matters, the analysis highlights that women, in particular, have struggled to be heard.




MMA, an organisation dedicated to promoting ethical and fair journalism that supports human rights, has consistently monitored how the media represents women as sources in their coverage. The findings reveal a persistent and disheartening trend where women make up less than 20% of sources accessed in media reporting. The South African Constitution’s Bill of Rights Section 16 guarantees freedom of expression for every citizen, and media outlets are entrusted with the ethical responsibility of facilitating this freedom. The media’s role in serving society extends beyond legal obligations, emphasising inclusivity and public trust as vital components of responsible journalism.




To illustrate the extent of this gender disparity, MMA analysed a list of topics dominating media coverage from January to June 2023. This list includes issues such as loadshedding, back to school, SONA, crime statistics, floods, SABC Board, Thabo Bester, Cholera outbreak, AmaBhungane vs. Moti case, and Youth Month. The analysis, conducted using the in-house media monitoring tool Dexter, revealed concerning statistics.




In the combined analysis of these hot topics, where gender could be determined, women were significantly underrepresented. Graph A illustrates this disheartening trend, with women’s voices making up only a fraction of the total coverage.




MMA calls on media outlets to address this gender disparity. It is crucial that women from all walks of life are given equal opportunities to voice their perspectives on issues of national importance. This not only aligns with ethical journalism practices but also strengthens public trust in media as reliable sources of information.



Read the full analysis here





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Lister Namumba,, 011 788 1278



About Media Monitoring Africa (MMA):



Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is a leading organisation dedicated to promoting ethical and fair journalism in South Africa. MMA actively monitors media coverage, advocates for human rights, and works to hold media outlets accountable for their reporting practices. Through research, advocacy, and engagement, MMA strives to create a more inclusive and equitable media landscape in South Africa.