Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

Two Minute Tips

Women’s issues coverage in your beat

March 8, 2016

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Include women workplace stories in your coverage. CC Photo via Flicr user Alexander Russy

Many governing agencies celebrate International Women’s Day on Tuesday, March 8. According to the United Nations, the day aims to highlight women’s roles throughout history across nations and in communities. The U.N. is marking the day in 2016 with an ambitious goal, “50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.”

But in the news industry, 82 percent of names the media references are those of men, according to a McGill University study published in the American Sociological Review.

At the Reynolds Center, we’ve been working on some money angles and coverage tips to help you amp up coverage of women and women’s issues in your business and economic reporting.

Legislating paid family leave is gaining popularity across the country with major candidates of both political parties touting paid leave as a campaign issue this election season. Additionally, more companies are improving their maternity and paternity leave policies in hopes of retaining workers and boosting company morale.

Policies differ across the country. Some states have full paid leave mandates. Others rely on the Family Medical Leave Act, requiring firms with 50 or more employees to provide some unpaid leave to care for a family member.

You can also explore the paid leave benefits of the major companies you cover. As more research supports a link between paid leave and turnover reduction, are human resource departments exploring expanding their internal policies?

Get familiar with the basics of paid family leave and check out how businesses in your community are reacting to the trend.

Explore the Pay Gap Between Men and Women

The gender pay gap is receiving more media coverage, and some companies are actively working to address the issue in their companies, like Salesforce and Reddit. Before reporting on the issue, understand how employers calculate the pay gap between men and precisely what the number describes.

Reporters can first become familiar with existing pay equality laws. Then, look into legislative proposals addressing pay discrimination at the state and local level. Finally, be sure to understand additional social factors contributing to the disparity of income among women and men; lawmakers can’t address all contributing factors.

The pay gap can be complicated to understand–be sure to understand the contributing factors and what laws exists to address it.

Feature Women Entrepreneurs

The McGill University study highlights the disparity of men and women in leadership roles in society, but plenty of diverse women entrepreneurs and local businesses owners provide compelling stories ripe for coverage. In fact, according to the latest available U.S. Census Bureau analysis, nearly 10 million women businesses exist in the United States.

Find and reach out to women-owned businesses and explore issues facing firms with women in leadership positions, such as challenges in accessing capital, what industries are women-dominated and the climate for minority women. Here are five tips to help you get started.

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