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Women in the newsroom: still some way to go

Despite some high profile female editors currently, women journalists still face a number of career hurdles.

By James Evelegh

Women in the newsroom: still some way to go
Equity for women in newsrooms encompasses all parts of the employment journey.

We live in a golden age of women in journalism, don’t we? Four editors of national newspapers are women. The challenges that groups like Women in Journalism were set up to address have surely all been addressed. They can disband now, can’t they?

Err, no.

An excellent article by Jem Collins, to be published in the upcoming Jan/Feb issue of InPublishing magazine pours a bucket of cold water over such thoughts. She canvasses the views of leading campaigners to assess the state of play now.

Without wanting to totally steal her thunder, here are some snippets from her article:

  • There are at least two male editors-in-chief for every woman in the position in the UK.
  • Women of colour face “extraordinarily dire” situations and are “locked out of top editorial jobs”.
  • Women from working-class backgrounds, disabled journalists, LGBTQ+ writers, and those from other marginalised backgrounds also face additional barriers.
  • It simply isn’t enough in 2023 to just be tracking the number of women you have in your newsroom. Who are they? How many are white, middle-class, non-disabled, straight women who went to good schools and maybe even have a family member in media?
  • Equity for women in newsrooms encompasses all parts of the employment journey, from the moment you think about hiring someone to their very last second working for the company.
  • Research shows three-quarters of women journalists find the industry’s culture “macho and intimidating”, with 70 percent saying senior roles are dominated by men.
  • Eighty-three per cent of respondents to a Women in Journalism research project said they felt women were more likely to go freelance due to the inflexible and antisocial demands of the job.

Also in the Jan/Feb issue, Ray Snoddy talks to Mary Ann Sieghart about her life in journalism and about her bestselling book, ‘The Authority Gap: Why women are still taken less seriously than men, and what we can do about it’.

Clearly, there’s work still to be done…

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