Women’s speaking time

By analyzing 700,000 hours of French TV and radio programs, INA has carried out the world's largest study of women's speaking time in the French media and confirming their significant under-representation.

Women's speaking time in the media

The research engineer of INA, David Doukhan, presented the results of his study about women’s speaking time in the media, realized as part of the European research project MeMad which aims at enhancing the management of audiovisual data.  He conducted the study on 700,000 hours of radio and TV programs using artificial intelligence tools developed by INA.

According to this study, women occupy on average one third of the time on television and radio: it is thanks to the automatic detection of the voices of men and women (applied for the first time to the description of the female expression rate) that the INA Research and Innovation department was able to scientifically quantify a strong imbalance in the audiovisual media, with an unparalleled exhaustiveness with the help of artificial intelligence methods.

Television: women talk less than men on all channels, despite a 4.7% increase in the rate of expression from 2010 to 2018.

Regardless of the channel considered, women never speak on average more than men. The parity of speaking time is almost reached on the channels targeting a female audience while the sports channels are associated with the lowest women's speaking rates (17% for l'Équipe, 7.73% for Eurosport). It is on public channels that the increase of women's speaking time is the most visible (+ 7.2%).

For France 24, French international news channel, the speaking time is almost balanced (the rate of expression of women reaches almost 45%). Paradoxically, the most equal channel can therefore give foreigners a distorted image of French media.

Radio: a 9.2% increase in women's talk time on the radio between 2001 and 2018, but disparities are still visible especially during peak hours.

In the case of radio stations which broadcast more speech than music, women speak more on public radio stations, as shown by the maximum female expression rate on Radio France International, French international news radio station (33.2%).

The only station that gives more time to women than men is one which broadcasts more than 80% of music, called Chérie FM.


INA, observatory of the contemporary media ecosystem

Contributing to a better understanding of how media works, the key issue of our contemporary societies, is one of the vocations of the National Audiovisual Institute (INA). It is along those lines that the study conducted by David Doukhan, engineer of INA's Research and Innovation department, is inscribed.

The indicators generated during this study have been updated on data.gouv.fr and can be used by all actors of the audiovisual and citizens. That was supported by the acoustic analysis software INASpeechSegmenter through collaboration between the research department of INA and the information laboratory of the University of Le Mans.

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