Sunday Show Scorecard: Where are the women?

September 7, 2009

One of my favorite things to do on Sunday mornings is make coffee and plop in front of the TV for the Sunday show lineup: Meet The Press, This Week, Face the Nation, maybe even Fox News if I was feeling brave. It’s something I’ve been doing since I was a kid, since my dad always had the Sunday shows on when I was little.

But lately I can’t help but notice how disappointing some of our Sunday show programming has become. A study from Media Matters for America shows that on average, Sunday show guests are 80% male.  The study was done in 2007, but really: how much has changed since then?

Yesterday, of the five major Sunday morning shows (Chris Matthews, Fox News Sunday, This Week, Face the Nation, and Meet the Press), there were a total of twenty-three guests.

Out of those twenty-three guests, how many were women?


So women still made up about 17% of yesterday’s guests on Sunday talk shows. (Also, coincidentally, women make up 17% of Congress….that’s for another post some day).

The more startling thing is that many of yesterday’s Sunday show panels were talking about the current hot topic around the nation: healthcare. Healthcare is an extremely important women’s issue — so why are there so few women being included in the conversation? Not that it is any less important to include women in conversations on, say, foreign policy and war, but with healthcare in particular there really is absolutely no excuse to leave women out of the conversation when you consider how much importance this issue has to women around the country, and how high the stakes are.

17% is abysmal. And it shows that almost nothing has changed since 2005, when the Media Matters study was conducted. The networks are still airing the same types of guests — and when they do seek out diversity, they have the same “token” women or token people of color (Juan Williams, for example, accounted for 99 of the 126 Sunday show appearances by an African-American in the Media Matters study).

So the question now is: what will it take to see real change out the networks, who have been doing the same thing for years?



  1. Hello, I am following you from Rebecca Thorman’s blog. Glad to be here. You know this scorecard begs to ask the question…so who is watching the shows…most likely 80% white males. That provides a tip as to the guest demographics of the shows. Personally, I find myself frequently turning from these shows because of the lack of representation.

    • True, the demographics of the audience for these shows probably is mostly white males. But that doesn’t excuse it — I think these networks could attract many different types of viewers if they diversified their guests instead of having the same lineups over and over again.

  2. […] Sunday Show Scorecard: Where are the women? « Politicoholic by Nisha Chittal politicoholic.com/2009/09/07/sunday-show-scorecard-where-are-the-women – view page – cached #RSS 2.0 Politicoholic by Nisha Chittal » Sunday Show Scorecard: Where are the women? Comments Feed Politicoholic by Nisha Chittal The Post-Post-9/11 World Progressives Launch a Twitter Directory, Republicans Launch a Social — From the page […]

  3. I’ve noticed this, and it really is sad. We boast about the progress we’ve made and the inequalities we’ve overcome, yet this kind of gender bias still has such a prominent place in our society.

  4. I've noticed this, and it really is sad. We boast about the progress we've made and the inequalities we've overcome, yet tgis kind of gender bias still has such a prominent place in our society.;

  5. […] same pattern is propagated throughout society. For instance, Nisha Chittal reports on a study from Media Matters for America that shows on average, Sunday Morning show guests are 80 […]

  6. […] really new. This has been a problem a lot of people have been complaining about for years. I’ve written about it dozens of times. So have many other women. Media Matters did a study on it in 2007. So, I […]

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