There’s no question that the consumption of news plays a huge role in our lives, but a new study shows that how women engage with traditional media is shifting.
With an international war, a referendum, a women’s soccer world cup and an actor’s strike (just to name a few), it’s fair to say a lot is happening in the news cycle – and women are eager to stay informed. But, what this report suggests is that many women have changed where they go for news.
A report from the University of Canberra’s News and Media Research Centre indicates that women are increasingly more disengaged with news than their male counterparts. It states that not only are we less interested, but we’re actively avoiding the news.
The Digital News Report: Australia 2023 indicates 72% of women avoid the news, compared to 67% of men. But, it doesn’t necessarily mean that women don’t want to know what’s going on in the world, but more so an indication that when women are accessing news, it’s predominantly through social media.
In fact, 59% of Gen Z women in Australia use social media to get news, with 1 in 4 Aussie Gen Z women using TikTok as a source of news. “We’re seeing more and more women, especially among the younger cohorts, switching off mainstream news and turning to alternative sources of information such as social media platforms,” said the report’s lead researcher, Dr Jee Young Lee.
“These gaps in news consumption suggest that mainstream news may not be providing what women want. This may be due to a lack of relevance and poor representation of issues women care about.”
The research also finds that 1 in 5 women are interested in politics and 55% of Australian women say they want positive news, with a higher preference for culture, lifestyle and local news.
“The report points to a significant deficit in the types and topics of news that Australian female audiences are seeking in news media,” said Dr Lee.
“News plays a vital role in fostering national identity, building social cohesion, and informing voters, so without news that speaks to them, there is a risk that women and minorities could become further disenfranchised from mainstream social and political debates.”
Luba Kassova, co-founder of AKAS and a contributor to the report, stated "The most common explanation for women's news consumption being lower than men's globally, and indeed in Australia, is that women are assumed to have a lower interest in the news, which is often linked to their allegedly affording news lower importance than men do."
"But are women really less interested in news than men? Or are they less interested in the current news offering, which mostly reflects a male editorial agenda, men's viewpoints, and men's news needs?" she says.
We want to hear from you: where do you go for your news?