“There is practically no evolution” in terms of listening to women as experts or spokespersons, noted Rita Basílio Simões, coordinator of the Portuguese participation in the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP), an initiative of the non-governmental organization World Association for Christian Communication.

“We continue to have a very limited presence of women in the role of experts or spokespersons. Women appear above all as eyewitnesses, as representing the popular voice, as giving their personal experience in relation to a certain subject", she said, in an interview with Lusa News Agency, regarding the study "Who makes the news”.

The sixth GMMP report, released on 14 July, was based on data from 116 countries, which analyzed a set of 30,172 stories in newspapers, radio, television, and websites and on Twitter, on the same day.

The study, which takes place every five years, is the largest analysis on the representation of women in the media and in 2020 it was carried out in Portugal by a team from the Communication Section of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Coimbra, who studied 329 news stories.

Portugal recorded, in 2020, a percentage of women who appear in the news as subjects and sources of information was higher than the world average (34 percent against 25).

In 2010 (the year of the last data collected, as a report was not produced in 2015), Portugal recorded a percentage of 23 percent. “The leap is interesting”, notes Rita Basílio Simões, noting that Portugal is also above the European average (28 percent).

However, she emphasizes, “the numbers do not tell the whole story” and, when analyzed better, “women are more present, but they continue to play peripheral roles and not roles that illustrate an important place in society”.

For example, women are the subject or source of information in just 27 percent of political news and 40 percent of economic news, with only a majority (52 percent) in social and legal news.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have women in the front line of the fight, but, nevertheless, they end up appearing very little in the news”, says the researcher. According to the study, only 32 percent of news about science and health has a woman as their subject or source.

The study estimates that 57 percent of reporters are women (who reach a maximum of 84 percent on the radio), a percentage that drops to 27 percent among presenters (which also reach a minimum of 16 percent on the radio).

In traditional media, women are already the majority in the production of 'hard news' on politics (52 percent) and economics (77 percent), with sport remaining only 21 percent.

However, “men are in charge” and this increase in female journalists does not mean changes in the choice of sources (including more women) or in the treatment of themes (dedicating more attention to gender equality).

On the contrary, the researcher points out, “there are many lost opportunities, in which the articles were used to explore the gender issue, but this perspective is neglected” by those who produce the news.

To respond to the “lack of awareness” of journalists, the Portuguese team recommends training to help “eliminate gender stereotypes” from news production.

At the same time, it calls on the media to balance "the presence of men and women in the news as protagonists and sources of information" and to diversify news production, "dedicating more attention" to gender issues and women's rights.