Nearly three quarters of national news journalists are men, according to new research commissioned by the Women in Journalism group.

The report, 'A Gendered Press?' was released last night to mark the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. It was conducted by Echo Research, which surveyed the top 28 national newspapers by circulation size.

Other findings include that just 4 per cent of sports journalists are women while so-called 'soft topics' are also heavily covered by men, with 49 per cent of lifestyle reporters and 70 per cent of arts reporters being male.

"Broken down by topic, the split between men and women is evident. So-called 'soft' topics such as Lifestyle are the closest to parity, while News, Sport, Financial, and Politics contain disproportionate numbers of men. Columnists – widely viewed as agenda and opinion leaders – were also found to be primarily male," the research adds.

Women are also less likely to be in senior positions, according to the research, with 80 per cent of the top ten newspapers having almost twice as many male editors than female.

Looking at specific titles, women were most likely to be editors at the Sunday Times (40 per cent) and the Times (39 per cent), then closely followed by the Guardian (37 per cent).

At the other end of the spectrum, 24 per cent of editors at the Sun are women and only 21 per cent at the Daily Mirror.

Overall, the Independent had the lowest proportion of female reporters at 22 per cent.

In a release, Sue Matthias, chair of Women in Journalism said the research showed there is still "a long way to go" in British newspapers.

"The gender imbalance we have uncovered is shocking and it seems old attitudes are still alive and well in many places.

"We hope this research contributes to the debate on the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day and helps to build a fairer, more meritocratic press."

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