Media surround us are important part of our lives. They keep us informed, show us problems which we have to face and reflect society. They can help, they can harm. Media are described as watchdogs of a democracy they should give enough space to everybody, regardless of gender, age, nationality, sexual orientation, religion or state of health. But the reality is different. According to researchers women feature only in quarter of news items in Europe. (GMMP, 2010) In France, only eighteen percent of women experts appear in the media contents. In the Czech Republic men expert voice is heard two times more often than women.
Our aim was to highlight the problem of under representation of women experts, in France and the Czech Republic, and compare the situation in both countries. To understand the phenomen we interviewed researchers as well as professional journalists and institutional specialist.
The aim of our exchange project was to find out how did media come to this situation and how we can, as journalist, change it. According to our survey, journalists often choose the most simple way to get an expert´s voice for certain media output – they called proven contacts. The lack of women on the lists of contacts some journalists ascribe to the fact that it is hard to find a woman expert in some fields. On the other hand, they confessed they did not try hard to find them. So, women experts exist and it is our role to look after them to guarantee the diversity of voices.
France is one step closer to the gender equality in media, according to Brigitte Grésy situation is improving and the view to the future is bright. The situation in the Czech Republic is a bit worse, despite the existence of institution of equal opportunities for women and men. Main role still play non-governmental organisations who stress the importance of equal opportunities for women. However, the future of Czech women experts is not bad. Journalists on the editor´s and decision making positions are increasingly trying to enforce more women experts in media contents.