According to a recent study in India, the livelihood issues of women in the formal as well as informal sectors during the Covid-19 lockdown are largely under-reported by the mainstream print media.
The study, titled Locating Gender Perspectives in COVID-19 Reportage in India, was commissioned by the United Nations Population Fund and Population First and conducted by members of the Network of Women in Media India (NWMI).
Among the 6,110 stories published in 12 newspapers in seven languages between March and September 2020, only 4.8 per cent of those stories were concerned with women and other marginalized genders.
Women and trans people were found to be rarely the main figures, sources and experts even in stories that were directly about them and there were almost no stories about Dalit and Adivasi women and the trans community in the articles analyzed.
English language publications did not give any more importance to women-related stories than publications in any other languages.
Most of the articles included stories about urban middle-class women and often did not include working-class women. The one area in which media covered women as professionals during the lockdown was about healthcare and essential care workers.
Overall, the news stories tended to quote men more and limit stories on women to individual narratives or episodes, with minimal gendered perspectives offered.
The report pointed out that it is the media's responsibility especially in times of crisis to find out and amplify the voices of women and other marginalized genders and communities to provide an inclusive gender perspective in news.