Women Academics and the Media

Are women academics less likely than their male colleagues to present themselves as experts? Shari Graydon, a former newspaper journalist who now runs a consulting firm called Informed Opinions, thinks so. Ms. Graydon runs regular on-campus workshops with academics in Canada about how to share their expertise with the public. She has surveyed hundreds of female academics and found that they are quoted in media reports far less often than men. “The skew is so significant – it’s currently about 80-20 [male to female],” says Ms. Graydon. She notes that women tend to fear that they will look presumptuous by speaking on a subject and they also prefer taking time to consider their answers – a definite impediment for television and radio broadcasts. “There’s a whole contribution and value that we’re not getting access to if they’re not sharing what they know,” she says.

from “Dancing with the media: Academics need the media to help publicize their work, but when important findings are distorted it can lead to decades of distrust,” by Tim Johnson.

One thought on “Women Academics and the Media

  1. It seems strange to criticize women academics for acting in a manner that is less
    ‘presumptuous” and “taking time to consider their answers”. If this is “a definite impediment for television and radio broadcasts” and I presume it is, the fault lies with the media and possibly their audience but not with women academics. I’ll take those who are not presumptuous and consider their responses every time.

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