Women in the media industry are massively underrepresented. The distribution of gender across all roles and occupations within the media is massively skewed towards men. This is not a new phenomenon; women have always played a smaller role in media production than their male counterparts, and the progression towards gender equality in this field is slow. Media content itself locates women within their ‘traditional’ submissive roles: those of the housewife and mother. News media in particular do not offer content specific to the interests of women. As such, alternative news sources aimed at delivering content for women, to women, have emerged. Increasing accessibility of the internet has enabled women to create, and access, non-mainstream long-tail news outlets that cater content to women.
One such alternative news organization is Women’s eNews, or We.news. We.news is an online news source that features articles written largely by women on a variety of subjects, including politics, health, culture, the arts, and business. These topics are indeed discussed in mainstream media, but We.news presents information that is particularly relevant to women. The site is almost entirely run by women, who comprise an overwhelming majority of writing and editing positions. Its board of directors is also almost entirely female. These women hail from a variety of ethnic and class backgrounds. We.news contributors and content have earned recognition from the National Women’s Political Caucus and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, among others. Womensenews.org was listed as one of the best websites for women by Forbes Magazine in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
Women’s eNews was founded in 1999 by the advocacy group Legal Momentum (then known as NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund). In an effort to reach women in Arabic-speaking nations, We.news created its Arabic-language site in 2002, which, aside from featuring translated articles from its English-language counterpart, presented a media outlet to which Arabic women could contribute. This greatly expanded the content of We.news, prompting it to adopt a more global perspective. We.news presents articles focusing on issues within a number of countries, including Israel, Japan, Egypt, Turkey, and Tanzania. These articles address a wide variety of subjects, such as land ownership rights, gender parity, sexual harassment, and abortion legislation.
Women’s eNews is a necessary alternative to mainstream media. It is a site dedicated to the in-depth coverage of topics of concern to women neglected by mainstream media. By marketing itself specifically to women, it is able to reach its target demographic. Women’s eNews obtains much of their content from freelance writers, allowing it to have a broad selection of articles and topics to choose from and post. Furthermore, women are prevalent in all media production roles, from the board room to the writer’s desk. It is this last point that speaks to the success of We.news. It is a space that encourages women writers to tackle women’s issues in a forum policed and viewed by women. Without the involvement of women at every level of the organization, Women’s eNews would fail in providing the alternative to mainstream media that it offers.
Mainstream media, by virtue of being mainstream, have sparked the creation of a variety of alternative media that seek to fill gaps in coverage and strive to meet the needs of marginalized demographics. Women’s eNews is just one example of such an organization. Today’s media landscape, which includes the increasingly populated and popular internet, allows for such organizations to exist and thrive. It is likely that sites like We.news will continue to be necessary for some time, as mainstream media is slow to expand and adapt its content to cater to women and minority groups.
“The Pope Blinks; Afghan Police Harass Women.” n.p. Women's eNews, 21 Sept. 2013. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.
Casserly, Meghan. "The 100 Best Websites For Women, 2013." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 20 Aug. 2013. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.
Makino, Catherine. “Japanese 'Aunties' Party Presses for Gender Parity.” n.p. Women's eNews, 23 Sept. 2013. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.
McCabe, Jess. “Tanzanian Women See Second Chance at Land Owning.” n.p. Women's eNews, 30 Oct. 2013. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.
Oberoi, Reshmi Kaur. "Southwest Takes the Legal Battlefront on Abortion." n.p. Women's eNews, 31 Oct. 2013. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.