“It is about equal treatment of men and women, and encompasses issues such as equal pay for equal work, equal access to decision making bodies, employment, pensions, health care, promotions, maternity and paternity leave. In journalism it also means fair gender portrayal in the news, the use of neutral and non-gender specific language, and women not being pigeonholed as ‘lifestyle’ or ‘soft’ news reporters.” – Getting the balance right: Gender equality in journalism
In the journalistic community, discrimination due to gender is still evident, and many women are often found reporting on lifestyle and social issues, rather than “hard” news (International Federation of Journalists, 2009, pp.3). Despite the fact that statistics prove that more and more women are continuing to enter the field, the amount of women in senior jobs (International Federation of Journalists, 2009, pp.4) within journalism are surprisingly low compared to that of men.
The pay gap between male and female journalistic voices is also alarmingly wide, and research in the UK found that political news, opinion writing and sports journalism are areas which hold very few female voices. Sport is perceived to be a male dominated industry, and a 2011 survey in Germany concluded that only 8% of the sports related articles were written by women. In the UK the number is even smaller, and less than 5% of sports journalism was written by females.
Jodi Enda of Nieman Reports claims, “We no longer sit in the balcony, but neither do we have the best seats in the house.” Enda suggests that women have changed the face of news, as there is now more focus on education, welfare, and children. She claims that without females in positions of authority in the field, female journalistic voices have a much more difficult time being heard and respected, and there is much less chance of them having the ability to report on “hard” news.
Although we can see a increase in the presence of women in the journalism field, it is evident that it is difficult for women to achieve senior jobs or higher positions, proving that gender inequality is still very evident in the field.
International Federation of Journalists. 2009. Getting the balance right: Gender equality in journalism | UNESCO. Belgium. Available at: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001807/180707E.pdf [Accessed 30th May 2014)