On the back of International Women’s Day in March, my team here at News UK, Comms Planning, thought it would be an appropriate time to update everyone on phase two of our research into our female audience, which we are conducting in collaboration with the News UK Data Hub.

Phase 1: Uncovering views

This time last year, our initial analysis showed us that, while half of our Sun and Times readers felt represented by women in advertising, they see women most often shown as pretty and sexy, rather than intelligent and strong.

Female readers want stronger, more equal ad representation

As a result of those findings, we have identified three areas of focus:

  1. promoting authenticity
  2. championing female talent & role models
  3. challenging outdated stereotypes

We have been working to incorporate each of these into relevant advertiser briefs that we have seen coming through the Commercial department over the last 12 months.

Phase 2: Digging deeper

For phase two, we are working with White Rabbit Research on a qualitative approach which focuses more on ‘life stage’ than age.

We feel this is less limiting from a perspective of dismantling stereotypes.

Ideally, our findings will paint a picture of what the future could look like in terms of gender equality.

A series of questions asking our participants what they would like to be different in five years' time across a range of subjects will help us to project this.

We aim to find out:

  • who our audiences’ role models are
  • what they want to see more of
  • who influences them
  • how they envision female media representation in the future.

We’ll also be drilling down into the issues our female readers are concerned about across a range of topics such as:

  • physical health
  • personal safety
  • finances
  • mental health

These areas of focus will allow us to apply our learnings to specific client categories, with a view to show how we can work closely with potential (and existing) advertisers to best resonate with our female readers.

Ultimately our aim is to represent peoples’ lives and values in a better and more progressive way.

Asking the questions

In addition to speaking to our readers across the country, we’ll be interviewing one or two influential women from our newsbrands, as well as women in positions of importance at relevant brands including Sport England.

This will allow us to gather a more professional perspective on female issues from people who are closely linked with the subject in their current role.

All of our interviews take place through March 2022, so sit tight for some exciting results and fresh insights.