Report: “Shattering the Glass Screen”

The Press Forward Industry Recruitment Efforts Result in New Study Examining Women’s Progress in the Media and Entertainment Industry

SAN FRANCISCO, C.A. – February 13, 2020 – The Press Forward is pleased to announce that the organization’s efforts to connect news organizations with Women in the Workplace, the largest comprehensive study of women in corporate America, has resulted in an industry-specific study on women in media and entertainment and the pipeline to leadership, with a special focus on U.S. news organizations, conducted by leading global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company.

“We are grateful to the news organizations that participated in this study,” said Carolyn McGourty Supple, executive director of The Press Forward. “Each demonstrates a commitment to knowledge sharing, collaboration and accountability through data and measurement to collectively advance issues of diversity and inclusion in an industry critical to us all.”

The report, “Shattering the Glass Screen,” finds that although women are well represented at early-tenure positions, they remain a minority at more senior levels. Further, at almost every level in news organizations, women are better represented than they are in corporate America overall; at almost every level, however, women will leave their companies at higher rates than men.

The study also provides evidence that in media and entertainment broadly, more men than women are hired from outside the company and into the C-suite, which is 79 percent male and 21 percent female.

“Our research benefits from the trust that companies have placed in us to share their company data, including the number of men and women by race and ethnicity at each level, and to anonymously survey their employees. Without this information, we would not have as clear a picture of how women are progressing in the workplace,” said Jess Huang, a co-author of Shattering Glass Ceilings and a Partner at McKinsey and Company. “We’re grateful to The Press Forward for their help in encouraging media companies to participate in our research.”

Using data from the 2019 Women in the Workplace study, developed through their partnership with, McKinsey created a one-year snapshot of how women are progressing in media and entertainment. The report findings look at how women’s workplace experiences differ from those of men, with an additional focus on news organizations. The industry subset focused on collected data from 15 media and entertainment companies, including the workplace-experience-survey responses of 1,700 employees, both male and female, from the media and entertainment industry in 2019.

The Press Forward onboarded national news organizations across outlets- including print, digital, radio and broadcast- to participate in the study, providing the first snapshot of the pipeline to leadership for women and journalists of color in the American press.

Important data on representation

“Shattering the Glass Screen” provides new data on representation in U.S. news organizations. The authors find that at the manager level, women in news organizations represent 44 percent of employees, compared with 38 percent in corporate America overall; and at the senior-manager level, women comprise 43 percent of employees, compared with 34 percent in corporate America overall. Women of color represent 14 percent of entry-level employees at news organizations, compared with 17 percent in media and entertainment, and 18 percent in corporate America overall.

“This disparity is exacerbated throughout the pipeline,” the authors say. “At the vice-president level, for instance, women of color represent only 4 percent of employees at news organizations, compared with 6 percent of employees and media and entertainment and 7 percent of employees in corporate America overall.”

The report recommends that to help women advance to senior positions in media and entertainment industries, companies will need to increase women’s access to internal and external pathways to the top, appoint more women to board positions, create and commit to a culture of accountability, ensure fair evaluations and establish a systemic training program to combat biases.

To learn more about recommendations specific to news organizations, please download the report.

The Press Forward will continue to act as a convener for news organizations interested in participating in the 2020 Women in the Workplace study, connecting them with McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org’s research. All data is anonymized and aggregated.

“A path forward for #MeToo involves more women in leadership and understanding the factors that allow for them to succeed in the workplace,” said McGourty Supple. “Our partnership with McKinsey and and the report’s findings give news industry leaders and employees the information they need to fairly advance employees and improve gender diversity within their organizations.”

The Press Forward
The Press Forward is an independent initiative whose mission is to advance culture in the news industry. We aspire to create safe, civil and diverse workplaces for women and men to do their best work in journalism through training, research and education. We work with newsroom leaders, journalists and students on issues surrounding harassment and workplace rights, the leadership pipeline and the future of work. The Press Forward is a fiscally-sponsored project of Community Initiatives, a registered 501(c)(3).

Women in the Workplace
Women in the Workplace 2019 is the largest comprehensive study of the state of women in corporate America. Since 2015, McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org have published this report annually to give companies and employees the information they need to advance women and improve gender diversity within their organizations. McKinsey & Company also conducted similar research in 2012. This year, 329 companies employing more than 13 million people shared their pipeline data and/or completed a survey of their HR practices. In addition, more than 68,500 employees were surveyed on their workplace experiences, and we interviewed women of different races and ethnicities and LGBTQ women and women with disabilities for additional insights. Since 2015, 590 companies employing more than 22 million people have participated in the study – many for multiple years – and more than a quarter of a million employees have been surveyed on their workplace experiences.

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