With little over a week left on the job, outgoing CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin is raising the curtain on the network’s male-dominated executive staff and how she had to “fight for women’s stories.”
“The most influential anchors on our network, the highest-paid, are men. My bosses, my executives, are men. The person who oversees CNN Dayside is a man, and my executive producer for 10 years is a man. So I’ve been surrounded by a lot of men,” Baldwin, 41, said on the Ms. Magazine podcast Monday.
“I was surrounded by a lot of dudes,” she said of her experience rising through the ranks.
In 2018, The Wrap conducted an analysis on weekday programming on various networks and discovered CNN didn’t have as many female anchors as competitors like MSNBC and Fox News.
The outlet found CNN had half as many female solo anchors on weekdays with just three compared to six each on Fox News and MSNBC and none during the primetime evening hours of 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Baldwin, whose last day with the network is April 16, said CNN has started to give more power to women “little by little” in digital and executive newsgathering positions but more work needs to be done.
“It’s getting better but we still have a bit of a ways to go,” she said.
“I want more women in the room.”
When the Peabody Award finalist was asked how the male-dominated executive team impacted her ability to tell important stories about women, she said she was “told no a lot.”
“I know I, personally, fight for women’s stories,” Baldwin replied, adding she has a poster from her CNN series “American Women” hanging in her office as a reminder she was able to finish the project.
“I got told no a lot and I still managed to do it.”
In February, Baldwin announced she’d be stepping down from her perch after 13 years with the network without another job lined up. She’s spoken to various outlets about how the work she did for her book “Huddle,” which focuses on the power women have when they come together as a collective, inspired her to leave her comfort zone and pursue new challenges.
The announcement also came a few months after the network took her off the air and replaced her with political anchor Jake Tapper for the month leading up to the 2020 election. At the time, she made comments on Instagram that seemed to indicate she was being forced to give up her time slot for a man.
“As the election gears up, the political maestro @jaketapper will hold down my hour and his for the coming weeks. Wish I was with you, but I’ll see ya on [TV] on the flip side of the election,” Baldwin wrote in a post at the time.
When a fan asked “Why are you taking so many weeks off at such an important time?” Baldwin replied: “Not my choice.”