NewsLadies and NewsGentlemen

Gender representation in media has always been a talking point, particularly for feminists, many of which argue that women are unfairly represented, or not taken seriously enough in the media.

If you need a little proof, you’ll find a multitude of different “[Insert Public Figure] Shuts down interviewer” articles, which detail very clearly incidents of sexism in popular, mainstream media. Here’s a nice article that collates twelve examples that I found just for you!

From above article

Something to look at here however is the news media organisations and interviewers who are actually asking the questions. Are there actually enough women in news media, and are they getting the same sort of recognition for their work that men do? While researching this I found a very robust discussion of the issue from New Matilda’s Wendy Bacon.

Turns out a few years back, women cleaned up at the Walkely’s, which are awards for quality journalism in Australia. You would think that this kind of recognition would be a clear step in the right direction, and in a way it is. However, as Bacon points out, discrimination is still rife, even if unintended. She points out a headline from ‘The Conversation’ labelling the awards as a ‘Ladies Night’, and rightly asks if this sort of differentiation would be made if men had taken out the awards that night. I think you and I both know the answer to that one…

Internationally, women in the media area a tad more spread out, but luckly there are a few like Rima Karaki, who are making a stand and making their presence known. Karaki became an international name in march this year, when she took a Sheikh to task after he told her to shut up. (Video and article here)

Personally though, if I think of Australian newsreaders, a whole lot of them are Female. The lead news anchors for 7 News, Ten News and the ABC News for Sydney/NSW are Female, and most television news programs have at least one woman between news, sport and weather. Never the less, there is room for improvement.

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2 comments

  1. I really enjoyed reading your blog, and the link to the article of examples of sexist and utterly dumb questions. When you see a list of examples like that it makes me think of how many questions women in media would have been asked like that that go unnoticed, I am sure there are worse questions too. Here is another blog that has a few more points about the topic (http://www.bustle.com/articles/59365-5-sexist-questions-female-celebrities-shouldnt-always-be-asked).

    I am always interested in the fashion and what they wear, it would be refreshing to hear a bit more of those things from the guys. Also it would be amazing to hear these women so many of us look up to, talk about their passions are more serious issues.

    By having more women involved in the journalism side of media, perhaps better questions will be asked and society will change their interests.

  2. Nice blog!

    Thank goodness for those aspiring women in the article by Elizabeth Stank, it was a good read!

    I am in part embarrassed to be a citizen of the Asia and Oceania region because of this stark gender disparity in newsrooms. As part of my final project report for BCM310 I have looked at the actual figures of women and men in Australian news companies. The results are shocking. A lot of Australia’s news presenters are female like you said but out of the six Australian news companies surveyed (2 newspapers, 2 television stations and 2 radio stations) as part of IMWF Global report in 2011, 80% of men were at a governance level and only 20% of women. In top-level management 90% were men and 10% women.

    Australia can learn from countries such as South Africa whereby women in newsrooms have slightly surpassed the number of men. Newsrooms in South Africa that have responded to women’s pushes for equality stand as examples to other newsrooms in all regions of the world. The ability of women to surpass the number of men is related to South Africa’s progressive policies on gender and is also related to South Africa’s second-place global ranking for the numbers of women in public office.

    I do believe Australia’s glass ceiling is on the way out in newsrooms. It will be interesting in the coming years to see if anything changes, or if the current gender disparity in Australian newsrooms will stay the same.

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