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About Rising Stars and Female CEOs - Unconscious Bias in Interviews with Female Top Managers

In light of the ongoing public debate on gender equality and our responsibility as consultants in the media and communications field, this study on unconscious bias in interviews with female top managers aims to provide deeper insights into the way female executives and founders are portrayed by the media in a professional context.

By analyzing over 600 interviews with top managers in German leading media and tech publications over a period of 30 months and evaluating an exemplary selection of social media profiles of top managers, we found that the questions journalists ask in interviews differ greatly in their thematic focus depending on the gender of the interviewee.

Representing female founders from different industries, Julia Bösch, Lea-Sophie Cramer, Katharina Jünger, Verena Pausder and Miriam Wohlfarth shared their personal experiences in interacting with the media with us.

Key Insights

  • While professional aspects are central in interviews with men, female professionals are being interviewed with a stronger focus on private topics.

  • When interviewing female top managers, female journalists address private topics such as family or childhood more frequently than male journalists.

  • In terms of their public appearance, media are less strict and critical of female founders than they are of female executives in established companies.

  • The unconscious media bias towards top female managers is increasingly discussed as a problem and women create awareness by sharing their impressions on social media.

As communications experts, we can make an important contribution to an equally authentic and individual representation of women and men in their leadership positions by uncovering biases and creating awareness.

Find more insights and recommendations on how media representatives and those affected can cope with unconscious media bias in our study from 2021.*

[Download the report here] (English version)

[Download the report here] (German version)

Read the first issue of our study* from 2020 on the portrayal of top managers in the media for further insights about characteristics attributed to female managers.

[Download the report here] (English version)

[Download the report here] (German version)

* FGS Global has its roots in four venerable firms across the world of strategic communications: Finsbury, Hering Schuppener, The Glover Park Group and Sard Verbinnen & Co.