The EqualVoice Initiative is launching the first international dialogue on gender equality in the media

  • The first EqualVoice Summit in Switzerland with prestigious international speakers including Amal Clooney and Iris Bohnet, as well as Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter
  • An important exchange among top executives from leading international companies on women’s visibility in the media
  • Axel Springer is integrating EqualVoice with a view to improving the visibility of women in reporting by its news media brands
  • ETH validates the EqualVoice Factor
  • A clear commitment to equality: EqualVoice Summit participants sign pledge
  • Launch of an international EqualVoice Advisory Board

As an internationally active media and technology group, Ringier has been using its publishing and technological power to promote gender equality since the end of 2019. The aim is to increase the visibility of women in the media and give women and men an equal voice. Central to this approach is the measurement of the EqualVoice Factor, which is based on a semantic algorithm. 

EqualVoice Summit in Zurich with prestigious international speakers

On 2 May 2022, Ringier CEO Marc Walder and CFO Annabella Bassler invited top executives from the international world of business and media to Zurich to engage in a constructive dialogue on gender equality in the media at the EqualVoice Summit. 

The programme included speeches and presentations by internationally renowned personalities such as human rights barrister Amal Clooney, Federal Councilor and Minister of Justice Karin Keller-Sutter, behavioral economist Professor Iris Bohnet from Harvard University, Mariana Santos, founder and CEO of Chicas Poderosas, Carolina Müller-Möhl, founder and President of the Müller-Möhl Foundation, Corine Mauch, Mayor of Zurich, and Brittany Kaiser, co-founder of the Own Your Data Foundation. 

Panel members Aleksandra Karasinska, Editor-in-Chief of the Polish Forbes Women, Nicole Schwab, Co-Director of Nature-Based Solutions WEF, Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer SE and Christian Van Thillo, Executive Chairman of the Belgian-Dutch DPG Media Group discussed the responsibility of the media in terms of gender equality. 

The EqualVoice Summit was rounded off with a performance by singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald. 

The Müller-Möhl Foundation, Jaguar and Land Rover Switzerland are all partners of the EqualVoice Summit.

Ringier CEO Marc Walder: «The EqualVoice Summit addresses the role of the media when it comes to women’s visibility. Women continue to be dramatically underrepresented. The media have the power to give women more visibility in all areas in the interest of equality between women and men. And, it goes without saying, in the interests of readers of both genders.»

Federal Councilor Karin Keller-Sutter: «I’m delighted to be appearing at the Equal Voice Summit to support the cause of making women more visible in the media. The visibility of female politicians and experts in the media is key to achieving equality.»

Amal Clooney, barrister who specializes in international law and human rights: «As women, we may not be a minority, but there is a bond that we all share. It is not a bond of geography. Or religion. Or culture. It is a bond of shared experience – experiences that only women go through and struggles that only women face.»

Iris Bohnet, Professor at Harvard University: «Participating in the EqualVoice Summit was important to me because designing equality is both – my passion and my work.»

The EqualVoice Pledge: a binding commitment to increased engagement concerning women’s visibility in the media 

Ringier AG, Axel Springer SE, DPG Media and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) sent a strong and binding message during the EqualVoice Summit by signing the EqualVoice Pledge. In doing so, the media companies and WAN-IFRA commit to supporting gender equality in their organizations, introducing measures to promote gender equality, implementing the idea of EqualVoice with their respective media brands, increasing the visibility of women in the media and communicating the benefits of gender equality.

ETH validates the EqualVoice Factor

Based on the EqualVoice Factor, a semantic algorithm developed in-house by Ringier, Ringier measures the proportion of women and men in the online reports of its media brands. Two indicators are generated: 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. The EqualVoice Factor can also be used by other media houses and corporate communications departments. Scientifically documented confirmation was provided in the validation of the EqualVoice Factor measurement method by ETH Zurich. Dr Vanessa Wood, Professor at the Institute for Electronics and Vice President for Knowledge Transfer and Corporate Relations at ETH Zurich presented the latest research results and quality characteristics of the factor to summit participants.

Annabella Bassler, founder of the EqualVoice Initiative and CFO of Ringier AG: «EqualVoice shows us how things really are. The EqualVoice Factor turns an emotional issue into a fact-based discussion and solution-oriented action. This in turn leads to measurable change, which is what we are seeing in the Ringier Group. It’s all the more rewarding that we can now offer our EqualVoice Factor to other companies.»

Axel Springer Is integrating EqualVoice with a view to improving the visibility of women in reporting by its news media brands

During the EqualVoice Summit, Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer SE, announced that the media and technology group, which operates in 40 countries, now supports the EqualVoice initiative and uses the EqualVoice Factor. A start is being made with B.Z.-Berlin, Berlin’s biggest tabloid, with editorial integration being tested since January 2022 at B.Z. Digital, B.Z’s online offering. Best practice models for analyses and measures are to be developed from the pilot and successively applied to the other news media brands such as Bild and DIE WELT

Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer SE: «Diversity and gender balance are absolutely essential for future-oriented journalism, which is why we want to drive this change with Equal Voice and other initiatives. We are committed to ensuring that all genders, as well as nationalities, religions, skin colours or sexual orientations, are fairly represented. This is of particular concern for me and all Axel Springer brands, and our goal for the years to come. Equal Voice technology is an effective tool for creating awareness in editorial offices and establishing diverse reporting as the standard for the longer term.»

The editors-in-chief of the media brands of the Polish joint venture Ringier Axel Springer Polska have already been supporting the EqualVoice initiative since 2021, and evaluate their publications using the EqualVoice Factor. Other Central and Eastern European countries in which Ringier is active will follow in the near future. 

The EqualVoice Advisory Board goes international

It was announced at the first EqualVoice Summit that the initiative’s existing Advisory Board will be expanded to include an international offshoot. The International EqualVoice Advisory Board is made up of Brittany Kaiser (co-founder of the Own Your Data Foundation ), Mathias Döpfner (CEO of Axel Springer SE), Katharina Borchert (Journalist and former Chief Innovation Officer at Mozilla) and Yann Borgstedt (entrepreneur and founder of the Womanity Foundation). These members focus in particular on advocating for the expansion of EqualVoice beyond Switzerland’s borders. 

The EqualVoice Advisory Board consists of: David Allemann (CEO and Co-Founder of On), Pascale Baeriswyl (Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations), Nicole Burth (Head of Communication Services at Swiss Post), Regula Bührer Fecker (advertising executive and co-founder of Rod Kommunikation), Ingrid Deltenre (media manager), Tanja Grandits (“Chef of the Year 2020”), Dr Sabine Keller-Busse (President of Personal & Corporate Banking and President of UBS Switzerland), Carolina Müller-Möhl (President of the Müller-Möhl Foundation), Simona Scarpaleggia (board member at EDGE Strategy), Franziska Tschudi Sauber (CEO of Weidmann Holding AG), Christiane zu Salm (media entrepreneur and advisor) and Petra Ehmann (former Global Lead for Augmented Reality Product Partnerships at Google Switzerland and now Chief Innovation Officer at Ringier).

Marc Walder: «When it comes to mastering the great challenges of our time in politics, business and society, we need the best at the top – both men and women. An initiative like EqualVoice makes an important contribution by helping to change entrenched gender stereotypes and inspire holistic thinking. A network of partnerships is important in ensuring the goals and discussions can be carried forward. I’m delighted to have Brittany Kaiser, Mathias Döpfner, Katharina Borchert and Yann Borgstedt on board – four personalities who, with their international networks and reputations, will help us to take EqualVoice beyond the borders of Switzerland.»

Ringier AG, Corporate Communications

from left to right: Marc Walder, Katia Murmann, Annabella Bassler, Carolina Müller-Möhl and Mathias Döpfner, 2022