October 05, 2022

Congressman Castro Releases Second Installment of GAO Report on Latino Underrepresentation in American Media

Read the full report

Read a summary of the report in Spanish

Watch a livestream of Congressman Castro’s release address at the National Press Club

WASHINGTON Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) released the second of two Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports on the underrepresentation of Latinos in the American media industry, including the film, television, news, and publishing sectors.

“When I was a kid growing up in the Mexican-American neighborhoods of San Antonio, the faces and places I saw in movies and in the news rarely matched the world around me. Today, Latino representation in American media isn’t much better than it was back then,” said Congressman Castro. “Latinos make up nearly 20 percent of the country and our contributions are critical to America’s success, but our stories remain almost entirely missing from the American narrative. The release of today’s GAO report is an important examination of the factors that contribute to Latino representation and a call-to-action for government and the private sector to tackle this foundational problem for our society.”

 “The impact Latinos have in the U.S. is undeniable – we represent 19 percent of the population and have a buying power of $1.9 trillion,” said Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), a co-requester on the report. “Yet the GAO report released today shows that little to no significant progress has been made to increase Latino representation in the media industry. In fact, we continue to be underrepresented in the film, television and publishing sectors, with data showing a one percent increase of Latinos in the media industry over a decade. To add insult to injury, the data found that Latinas had a much lower representation than Latino men. Now more than ever, we need the media industry to step up and recognize that our community deserves representation both on and off the screen. We can no longer stand idly by while Latinos are left out and erased from the influences of movies, television and books. Until we see meaningful change, we will continue to work to hold the media industry accountable for its commitment to increasing and improving access, visibility and opportunities for all Latinos. It’s time for actions to speak louder than words.” 

In 2020, as chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Congressman Castro led a coalition of CHC members and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform to request a comprehensive report from the GAO on Latino employment in American media and the role of the U.S. government in enforcing equal opportunity in the industry.

The first report, released in 2021, found that Hispanics and Latinos make up approximately 12 percent of the American media workforce, compared to 18 percent of the non-media workforce. Within media, service jobs have the highest share of Hispanic and Latino workers (22%) and management roles have the lowest (4%). Read the full 2021 report.

The 2022 GAO report examines:

  • Representation of Hispanics in the media industry over the last decade and challenges stakeholders identified that may contribute to the level of Hispanic representation.
  • Steps that selected large media companies publicly reported taking to increase workforce diversity.
  • How key federal agencies enforce federal equal opportunity requirements and promote diversity in the media industry. 

How the 2022 report differs from the GAO report released in 2021:

The 2022 report covers a 10-year rather than a 5-year period; includes additional analyses by industry, gender, and education levels; includes perspectives from interviews with various stakeholders; looks at publicly available examples of company diversity efforts; and makes recommendations on how government agencies should enforce equal employment opportunity requirements. While the first report included groundbreaking quantitative data, the 2022 report is a comprehensive qualitative and quantitative analysis that evaluates factors contributing to underrepresentation and outlines the steps that federal agencies can take to promote diversity in media

Summary of 2022 GAO findings:

1. From 2010 through 2019, Hispanic representation in the media workforce grew at a slower pace than Hispanic representation in the non-media workforce.

  • In non-media industries, the Hispanic workforce share grew from 15% to 18%
  • In the media industry, the Hispanic workforce share grew from 11% to 12%

2. Hispanic women experience acute underrepresentation in the media industry

Hispanic representation in select media sub-sectors, broken down by gender

  • All media occupations: 10% (7% men, 3% women)
  • Television, video, and film camera operators and editors: 14% (11% men, 3% women)
  • Other media and communication equipment workers: 13% (12% men, 1% women)
  • Designers: 13% (11% men, 2% women)
  • Photographers: 12% (10% men, 2% women)
  • Broadcast announcers and radio disc jockeys: 12% (8% men, 4% women)
  • Artists and related workers: 11% (7% men, 4% women)
  • Producers and directors: 11% (7% men, 4% women)
  • Actors: 11% (7% men, 4% women)
  • News analysts, reports, and journalists: 11% (5% men, 6% women)
  • Graphic designers: 10% (8% men, 2% women)
  • Editors: 7% (4% men, 3% women)
  • Writers and authors: 7% (3% men, 4% women)

3. Hispanic media workers are significantly more likely to work in service roles than management roles. 

Hispanic representation in select media roles, broken down by gender

  • Service workers: 19% (10% men, 9% women)
  • Craft workers: 15% (14% men, 1% women)
  • Technicians: 13% (11% men, 2% women)
  • Administrative support workers: 13% (5% men, 8% women)
  • Operatives 13% (8% men, 5% women)
  • Laborers 12% (7% men, 5% women)
  • Sales workers 8% (4% men, 4% women)
  • First and mid-level management 7% (4% men, 3% women)
  • Professionals: 7% (4% men, 3% women)
  • Senior and executive management 3% (2% men, 1% women)

4. Stakeholders interviewed by GAO identified numerous challenges that may contribute to lower representation of Hispanics in the media industry, including:

  • Financial barriers (entry and retention)
  • Difficulties accessing education and training to enter the media industry
  • Limited access to professional networks
  • Difficulty meeting requirements for union membership
  • Lack of diversity among talent agents, media executives, and other decision makers

5. Federal regulators, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), lack data that could assist with their enforcement of anti-discrimination and EEO rules 

  • Federal data sharing: The EEOC and FCC no longer have an agreement in place to share data. Previously, the EEOC shared quarterly reports with the FCC to keep the FCC informed of all charges of discrimination
  • Federal collection of data on union member demographics: The EEOC’s approach to data collection does not allow the agency to determine whether certain unions are complying with reporting requirements designed to collect demographic information on union membership

6. Adopting GAO recommendations could improve federal equal opportunity compliance.

GAO made several recommendations for the federal government to improve equal opportunity compliance. Written responses from the EEOC and FCC, including agency commitments to consider the recommendations, are outlined in the report. 

The GAO’s recommendations include:

  • The EEOC should work with FCC to develop a new memorandum of understanding that includes a plan for EEOC to routinely share data with FCC regarding discrimination charges filed against broadcasters and cable and satellite television operators  
  • The FCC should work with EEOC to develop a new memorandum of understanding that includes a plan for EEOC to routinely share data with FCC regarding discrimination charges filed against broadcasters and cable and satellite television operators  
  • The EEOC should improve its approach to identifying local unions required to file an EEO-3 report to ensure that all obligated unions are routinely filing reports on the demographics of their members.