Authored by our Kirsten Eddy, Amy Ross Arguedas, Mitali Mukherjee and Rasmus Nielsen, the factsheet analysed the gender breakdown of top editors in a strategic sample of 240 major online and offline news outlets in 12 different markets.

These 12 markets are Brazil, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom and United States.

According to the research findings, among the 38 new top editors appointed across the brands covered, 26 per cent are women. In the US and Finland, half of the new top editors appointed in the past year are women, but in many other markets, few are.

In all 12 markets, the majority of top editors are men, including in countries where women outnumber men among working journalists. The percentage of women in top editorial positions varies significantly from market to market, from 5 per cent in Mexico to 44 per cent in the US.

The research authors said, “When we compare the percentage of women working in journalism with the percentage of women in top editorial positions, we find a weak positive correlation. Despite this, in 11 out of 12 markets, there are lower percentages of women in top editorial roles than women working as journalists.”

“Looking more broadly at gender equality in society and the percentage of women in top editorial positions, we find a weak positive correlation. But it continues to be the case that many countries that score well on the United Nations Gender Inequality Index (UN GII) have relatively few women among the top editors,” they added.

However, there is notable variation in the percentage of online news users in each market who say they get news from one or more major outlets with a woman as the top editor (whether offline or online). This ranges from, at the high end, 72 per cent in Kenya and 71 per cent in Finland to, at the low end, 18 per cent in Mexico and 27 per cent in Brazil, according to the research.