Gender Representation in Indian Newsrooms


This 2021 report was published by Newslaundry, a digital media platform, in partnership with UN Women and Hyatt, an American multinational hospitality company. It studies the representation of non-male genders, especially women, in Indian newsrooms. The report also presents the views of journalists on the gender balance in newsrooms, the implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their employment.

This report presents the analysis of two sets of data. The first is a byline count by the gender of authors for articles between August and July 2020, collected across newspapers, television and digital media outlets. The second set of data is from a survey of 80 journalists working in the Indian media.

The authors collected data from 11 newspapers (seven English and four Hindi), 14 news channels (seven English and Hindi), and 10 digital news portals. A total of 2,280 television debates, 21,988 newspaper articles and 10,473 articles from digital news websites were collected.

This 66-page report is divided into 12 sections: Executive Summary (Section I); Introduction (Section II); Methodology (Section III); Gender Representation On Prime-Time Tv Debates (Section IV); Gender Inclusivity In Print Media (Section V); Gender Representation In Online News Portals (Section VI); Who Operates Radio Stations? (Section VII); Newsroom Composition And Women-Led Media Organisations (Section VIII); Working For Indian Newsrooms: Responses From Survey (Section IX); Newsrooms As Safe Workplaces (Section X); The Impact Of Covid-19 On Employment In Indian Newsrooms (Section XI); Conclusion (Section XII).


  1. The report states that in English prime time television debates, 6,467 panellists participated in 1,295 debates within the time frame of the survey. About 85 per cent of the panellists were men. In debates with more than one participant, all-women panels were six in number while there were 673 all-men panels. The report notes that three of the six debates with all-women panels discussed matters relating to sexual harassment.

  2. The report collected data from 985 prime time debates in Hindi. Women formed only nine per cent of the total panellists – the report states. For every 10 panellists in prime time debates in Hindi, there was only one woman.

  3. No transgender person was present in any of the Hindi prime time debates analysed in this report.

  4. The report notes the absence of women’s voices in debates relating to Covid-19. In the 271 debates (with 1,300 panellists) on this topic, only 14 per cent of the participants were women.

  5. The report examined 43 debates (with 236 panellists) conducted by English language news channels on topics related to gender. Over 50 per cent of the panellists in these were women. In many channels, the report states, there is more than one panellist resent for every man appearing as a panellist on a debate relating to gender.

  6. Women panellists most often participated in newsroom discussions concerning “human interest and culture and entertainment discussions.” Their participation in panels about culture and entertainment was relatively high at 32 per cent.  However, such topics were seldom discussed in prime time debates.

  7. Men accounted for 90 per cent of all panellists for topics like “global news, defence and national security.” There were no women panellists out of the 312 that discussed defence-related topics.

  8. The report collected data from 21,988 articles in print media. Only 25 per cent of these were written by women writers. About 26.2 per cent of articles published in English language newspapers were written by women, whereas only 14 per cent of the Hindi newspaper articles had women authors.

  9. Men wrote about 75 per cent of all opinion and editorial pieces across all newspapers. The report also highlights that the front pages of all the Hindi language newspapers studied were almost entirely written by men. For instance, 99 per cent of all articles with individual bylines in the Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar were written by men.

  10. About 18 per cent of all articles analysed in this report were related to the Covid-19 pandemic. As low as 36 per cent of these articles were authored by women.

  11. The report states that women’s representation is much higher in online news portals as compared to newspapers and television panels. Among digital news portals, 41 per cent of the 10,473 articles analysed in this report were written by women. This representation varied across platforms – about 61.4 per cent of all articles in The Print were written by women while only 14.7 per cent of articles in Swarajya were written by women.

  12. The gender representation of men and women authors was almost at par for topics such as science, technology, environment and energy, in the digital news websites studied in the report. However, women wrote only a fifth of the articles on sports.

  13. Only 86 articles of the 10,473 digital articles were focused on caste. Among these, 50 were featured in The Wire, with women writing 19 of them. The report also states that eight of the 10 articles on caste issues in Swarajya were written by women.

  14. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, (also known as PoSH Act) prescribes newsrooms to set up Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to look into complaints relating to sexual harassment. The report found that about 27 per cent of the journalists who participated in the survey were not aware of the existence of an ICC in their newsrooms.

    Focus and factoids by Debadrita Saha.


UN Women; Newslaundry; Hyatt; Teamwork Arts, New Delhi


UN Women; Newslaundry; Hyatt; Teamwork Arts, New Delhi