Mind the gap
It is time to fill the media gender gap and change the industry as we know it.
We live in a world where Rosa Parks, Emily Pankhurst and Margaret Thatcher have redefined “women equality”. Whilst living in a nation that is slightly partial to female population holding 51% of the world, it seems ludicrous to acknowledge that the journalism and news media industry remains limited and prejudice to the male demographic.
We’re certainly not in the 1960’s anymore and whilst writing this in 2016, still knowing that what I am writing won’t be regarded as as valuable than if a male was to write this, demonstrates a clear lack of progression in gender equality.
“Women are not ascending to the top jobs in any media sector at anywhere near the rate they’re entering the journalism school pipeline,” — Ann Marie Lipinski, 2014 (The first female of the Chicago tribune)
Assuming that the story of women in journalism is a ‘narrative of progress’, current statistics still dismiss this wishful hypothesis. Across all media outlets and issues, men still receive 62% of byline and other credits in print, internet, TV and wire news. Women Media Center conducted numerous studies to assess the ratio of male and female publications and reports. Astonishingly, it presents that men were more likely to report on politics, crime, science and sports whilst women being left to write on education, lifestyle, health and religion. Not that I feel those things aren’t important, however in a journalism based industry where its assumed journalists aspire to distribute and report on hard news, men dominating this sector subliminally insults and condescends women as it is almost as though they are not trusted to report.
With support from statistics and facts, it is clear to state MEN DOMINATE MEDIA.
Women comprise only 36% of newsroom staffers — a figure that has remained concrete for more than three decades — (Bulkeley 2002)
Using Facebook live (which by the way, is a very hard process to navigate), I interviewed a freelance journalist: @isabellaharg, she discusses her experiences working in male dominated newsrooms and her opinions on the media gender gap.
“They don’t expect me as a female to know certain things… so it can be a bit patronising at times.”
Whilst the surface issue of the matter is that there is significantly less female reporters than male, is it accurate to assume that the underlying issue here is people’s low expectations of female ability? Women now outnumber men in almost two-thirds of degree subjects and are a third more likely to go to University than men. Does this significant statistic not validate the claim that females have just as much educational ability? The fundamental issue is not improving female work ability, it is removing this perception that women cannot do as much as men.
Remove expectation and there becomes room to impress.