EqualVoice factor, annual report 2021: the visibility of women in media by Ringier and Ringier Axel Springer Switzerland is improving

The EqualVoice factor, which uses a semantic algorithm, measures the proportion of women in all online content of media brands belonging to Ringier and Ringier Axel Springer Switzerland. The EqualVoice factor evaluation for 2021 shows that the proportion of women in reporting remained largely steady or even increased. The financial news platform cash.ch showed the most significant increase in the proportion of women in its reporting and surpassed last year’s Teaser Score (visibility of women in images, headlines and titles) by 64%.

The EqualVoice factor, a semantic algorithm developed internally by Ringier, evaluates all published online articles to measure the proportion of women and men in the publications Blick, Beobachter, Bilanz, cash, Handelszeitung, GaultMillau and Schweizer Illustrierte.  

Two key indicators are collected to calculate the EqualVoice factor: the Teaser Score measures the visibility of women in images, headlines and titles, and the Body Score measures how often women and men are mentioned in articles. Figures have been collected for most titles since 2018, allowing trends to be monitored over time. The figures for 2021 show that the visibility of women has increased or remained at a high level. 

The editorial teams set their own targets and have taken specific measures beyond quantitative measurement and in some cases conducted further qualitative analyses. For example, the editorial teams place greater emphasis on inclusive wording, and well-balanced planning in the selection of topics, featured protagonists and the visual design of the articles. 

Stefan Barmettler, co-editor-in-chief of Handelszeitung: «We participate in the EqualVoice project at Ringier and Ringier Axel Springer Switzerland and are working to increase the visibility of women in the business sector. And the figures already reflect this: we have greatly increased the EqualVoice score, which measures the visibility of women in our products, from 18.1% (2018) to 26.2% (2021). At Handelszeitung, we have potential in terms of the proportion of women on the editorial team. In general, this is very low in Swiss business editorial offices. We would like to improve this at Handelszeitung and have therefore launched a talent promotion campaign for young, qualified career starters.»   

Teaser Score: the range between the titles is narrowing – cash has improved the most

The Teaser Score across all media titles examined ranges between 22% (Bilanz) and 61% (Schweizer Illustrierte). Thus, the range of the Teaser Score has narrowed – in 2020, it was between 14% and 61%. This can be attributed mainly to the biggest change, the 9.2 percentage point increase observed for cash compared with the previous year. Thus, the Teaser Score for cash increased by 64% between 2020 and 2021. 

Cash editor-in-chief Daniel Hügli: «Only two of 100 major listed companies in Switzerland have a female CEO, according to one study. This does not reflect the reality in all areas of career and business life. It is therefore important to increase the visibility and voice of women, particularly in the financial and investment sectors. cash wants to do its part here.» He adds: «When planning interviews, we specifically look out for women as respondents; we want to achieve an adequate gender mix.»

GaultMillau reported the second largest change over the previous year with an increase of 3 percentage points. Beobachter, which has had a relatively balanced Teaser Score since monitoring began, showed the largest decrease in 2021 compared with 2020. However, with a Teaser Score of 43.1%, Beobachter is one of the media brands with a very balanced ratio.

Body Score: Bilanz and cash catching up

The Body Score indicates how often women and men are mentioned in an article. The range of Body Scores across all titles included in the analysis also narrowed, at between 22.6% and 54.8% in 2021. Schweizer Illustrierte had the highest Body Score at 54.8%. Bilanz showed the greatest improvement with a change of 2.8 percentage points on the previous year. The 11% increase and corresponding Body Score of 29% brought Bilanz to the same level as Blick. Along with Bilanz, cash was another business title that managed to increase its score, improving by 0.6 percentage points.

Annabella Bassler CFO of Ringier and initiator of EqualVoice: «The objectivity of the EqualVoice factor forms the basis for fact-based discussions that lead to measurable change – the original idea behind EqualVoice. The development of the EqualVoice Factor is impressive and shows that EqualVoice has been internalised in the editorial offices. It’s exciting to observe the different approaches taken by the editorial teams. Since monitoring began, the Teaser Score for cash increased by 64%, for Handelszeitung by 45% and for GaultMillau by 37%; the Body Score for Handelszeitung increased by 49%, for Bilanz by 46% and for GaultMillau by 19%.»

Ringier AG, Corporate Communications

About EqualVoice

The initiative was launched by CFO Annabella Bassler in November 2019, and is chaired by publisher Michael Ringier and CEO Marc Walder. Its aim is to advocate gender equality and improve the visibility of women in the media. The central element of the initiative is an indicator known as the EqualVoice factor. Further projects related to EqualVoice include the Female Experts List, Ringier’s internal tool for finding female experts, the EqualPyx photo challenge, aimed at generating images with more diversity, and the female experts workshop ‘Get Ready – Go Forward’, which supports women in making the most of their expertise. An international expansion of the EqualVoice factor to include other media brands is planned for the near future.

About Ringier

Ringier AG is an innovative, digitalised and diversified Swiss media company operating in Europe, Asia and Africa. Its portfolio includes around 110 subsidiaries in the print, digital media, radio, ticketing, entertainment and e-commerce sectors and leading online marketplaces for cars, property and jobs. As a venture capital provider, Ringier supports innovative digital start-ups. Ringier, a family company founded in 1833 as a publishing house and printing plant, has invested consistently in digitalisation and global expansion in recent years. In 2020, the company’s some 6.800 employees, operating in 18 different countries, generated revenues of 953.7 million CHF. Today, 69 per cent of its operating profit already comes from digital, where Ringier is a leader among European media companies. Ringier’s core values are independence, freedom of expression and a pioneering spirit.