The “ProQuote” initiative: Women journalists in Germany push to revolutionize newsroom leadership

Abstract: Using standpoint epistemology and critical mass theories this study examines outcomes of the 2012 ProQuote [ProQuota] initiative in Germany demanding at least 30% women in leadership per newsroom. In-depth interviews with 53 journalists in 21 newsrooms show that ProQuote boosted women’s ascension into leadership by triggering and sustaining a debate about gender in newsroom leadership. This contributed to the normalization and legitimization of women in top positions, somewhat alleviating the stigma of tokenism. With critical mass in a given newsroom, women’s standpoints have entered the discourse on leadership. More representation of women of different backgrounds and overall diversity in leadership are still needed.