Career progression in the media more difficult for women than men – concludes new report

A new report has discovered that almost three-quarters of women in the media believe career progression is more difficult for them than it is for men.

The figures are highest in the consumer magazine sector (77%) followed by nationals (76%) and broadcast and digital, both at 72%. Regional newspapers and then trade/b2b sectors fare slightly better.

The report also highlights the industry’s response to the Covid pandemic by discovering that female journalists were more than twice as likely to be furloughed than their male colleagues and 40% more likely to be made redundant.

Also in spite of recent innovations from leading publishers, just 19% of female journalists believe there is adequate gender diversity in journalism.

The report released by consultancy Man Bites Dog and Women in Journalism is based on responses from 1,200 UK journalists contacted via the Cision database.

Macho and intimidating culture

Daily Mirror editor Alison Phillips, who chairs the Women in Journalism group said the survey “exposes the shocking truth that the gender gap in journalism stubbornly persists.

The media is the prism through which the world sees itself. For it to be fair and accurate we need all kinds of people from a host of diverse backgrounds telling all sorts of stories. That makes great journalism.”

In spite of the fact that a third of national newspaper editors are female, three-quarters (74%) of male and female journalists agreed that a “macho and intimidating culture” remains in some newsrooms. 

The report said: “The inequality of female representation amongst media decision-makers and in the news conference room is a major concern and raises the question of whether the media has a ‘glass newsroom’, excluding women from power.

“A lack of gender balance in leadership not only impacts editorial decision-making about which stories are told, but can also perpetuate a culture that fails to include and engage women in journalism.”

“Many of the challenges faced by women in journalism were simply not seen by their male colleagues to the same degree,” it said.

Diverse talent pipelines

The report calls on media companies to invest “more energy in nurturing a diverse talent pipeline” and highlights tackling gender discrimination, age discrimination and concerns about poor pay among women as key.

It also advocates that publishers and media companies should seize the opportunities created by remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing more parents to return to work “without compromising their career ambitions”.

As the report also uncovered a key issue for women remains juggling work after becoming a parent, something that still affects them more than it does their male colleagues.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels


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