Media watchdogs are encouraging journalists to move beyond mere coverage and consider representation.
Women's Media Watch, the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) and the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) yesterday hosted a meeting with journalists and communication students to present the findings of the Global Media Monitoring Project 2009-2010 regional report on how news is covered in the Caribbean.
Findings show that men were represented three times more than women in 65 newspapers and newscasts.
"Good journalism should really include fair gender portrayal," said Judith Wedderburn, board member of Women's Media Watch.
The results also showed that the major news topics were crime and violence, politics and government, social and legal issues and the economy.
The 11 countries studied were Belize, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Puerto Rico, St Lucia, St Vincent, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.
Of the 1,678 people in the news, male government officials were the major newsmakers. Just over 80 per cent of voices were male spokespersons and nearly 70 per cent were male experts.
The majority of women in the news were politicians and then professionals in health and education, while female sources were more likely chosen by female reporters.
Other details that emerged include: of 840 articles and newscasts, nearly 70 per cent of television stories were presented by women.
However, nearly 90 per cent of radio stories were presented by men.
Shifting gender roles
Meanwhile, more than half the stories were covered by male reporters and, in terms of gender equality in the news, just over half the stories that were considered to be gender balanced were covered by women.
Less than 10 per cent of stories (written by men) challenged gender stereotypes.
Despite the figures, Jenni Campbell, president of the PAJ, noted that traditional gender roles have been and are still shifting in Jamaica and the rest of the world.
"We believe that any kind of investigation and exposure of information that will benefit our people and provide options to shape their decision-making process ought to be welcomed," Campbell said.
The PAJ president also noted that more women are entering the newsroom, a move to be celebrated.
In addition, the regional report pointed out that strategies must be developed based on the media monitoring project findings to assist with the democratising of media and gender equality.