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Global Report on Status of Women in News Media Shows Men Hold Vast Majority of Management Jobs in Newsrooms Around the World

A groundbreaking “Global Report on the Status Women in the News Media” examining more than 500 companies in nearly 60 countries shows that men occupy the vast majority of the management jobs and news-gathering positions in most nations included in this study.

The International Women’s Media Foundation commissioned the study to closely examine gender equity in the news media around the world. The full report will be unveiled at the International Women Media Leader’s Conference on Wednesday, March 23, at 9 a.m. at George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium in Washington.

A powerful gathering of nearly 75 women media executives from around the world will analyze the report and vote on a plan of action to “level the playing field” for women in newsrooms in their home countries at the conference on Friday, March 25. The conference is hosted by the IWMF and George Washington University’s Global Media Institute.

In this long-awaited extensive study, researchers found that 73 percent of the top management jobs are occupied by men compared to 27percent by women. Among the ranks of reporters, men hold nearly two-thirds of the jobs, compared to 36 percent held by women. However, among senior professionals, women are nearing parity with 41 percent of the news-gathering, editing and writing jobs. The new global study shows women in 26 percent of the governing and 27 percent of the top management jobs.

“it is crucial to have top management involved in decisions on these policies (to improve the status of women in newsrooms), said Kjersti Sortland, managing editor of Norway’s Verdens Gang, which was named one of the model companies of its region in the global study.” We agreed on having 50-50 gender equality and a strict policy on how to get there,” including evaluating managers on this.”

CBC General Manager and Editor-in-Chief Jennifer McGuire recalled how an early producer of CBC’s “As It Happens” (Karen Levine) decided the show “sounded too male….She started tracking voices on air” and shaped policies to change that. “Good intentions are not enough.” CBC was named a model company for working women by researchers in the global study.

“For the first time we have scientifically collected evidence that offers a true picture of the very real challenges faced by women working in the media industry,” International Women’s Media Foundation Executive Director Liza Gross said. “Women in every region of the world still face many barriers — whether it is lower salaries than their male counterparts or lack of access to decision making jobs in the newsroom.”

The IWMF study covering 170,000 people in the global news media found a higher representation of women in both governance and top management within both Eastern Europe (33 percent and 43 percent, respectively) and Nordic Europe (36 percent and 37 percent, respectively), compared to other regions. In the Asia and Oceana region, women are barely 13 percent of those in senior management, but in some individual nations women exceed men at that level — in South Africa women are 79.5 percent of those in senior management. In Lithuania women dominate the reporting ranks of junior and senior professional levels (78.5 percent and 70.6 percent, respectively), and their representation is nearing parity in the middle and top management ranks.

The global study identified glass ceilings for women in 20 of 59 nations studied. Most commonly these invisible barriers were found in middle and senior management levels. Slightly more than half of the companies surveyed have an established company-wide policy on gender equity. These ranged from 16 percent of companies surveyed in Eastern Europe to 69 percent in Western Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Sponsors of the international conference include The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Bank of America, Bloomberg and the McCormick Foundation. The global report was funded by The Ford Foundation, The Laureen Arbus Foundation, UNESCO Communication Development Division, Carolan K. Stiles and the McClatchy Company Foundation.

 

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