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Volume 39, No. 2, Spring 2011

Women from Best Practices Media Companies Describe What It Takes to Advance

Journalists on the panel that opened the IWMF International Conference of Women Leaders in Washington, D.C., March 23 largely agreed that to advance women in journalism, quantitative goals need to be set, results measured, and newsroom leaders held personally accountable for progress.

The panelists represented five companies identified by the Global Status of Women in the News Media study as being news organizations who had been particularly effective in recruiting and promoting women and addressing gender disparities in news coverage.

They were:  Canadian Broadcasting Corporation General Manager/Editor in Chief Jennifer McGuire; Editor in Chief Barbara Kaija of New Vision Publishing and Printing Company, Uganda; Silvia Miro Quesada of Empressa Editora El Commercio S.A., Peru; Ines Pohl, managing editor of Die Tageszeitung, Germany; and Kjersti Sortland, Managign Editor of Verdens Gang, Norway. Carolyn Byerly, Ph.D., of Howard University, the study’s director, also was a panelist. The panel was moderated by Katty Kay, Washington-based anchor for BBC World News America.

“We all know having women at the top changes the situation all the way down the pipeline,” Kay said before posing questions to each panelist. She began with Byerly, asking what surprised her most about the research results.

“It was the way some regions stood out in a uniform way,” Byerly said. “In Eastern Europe, the former Soviet bloc, women were almost at parity.” Despite their other problems, such as authoritarian governments, she said, the parity “had to do with the way the Soviet system had educated women and moved them into the workplace.

“Another thing that stood out was the relationship between national laws and women in journalism,” Byerly said. She cited Uganda as a society whose laws confer high status on women. She noted that the European Union nations are mandated to advance gender equality.

Byerly noted that while the companies that participated in the study were generally cooperative in providing employee data, “we had the most difficulty getting access to information in the most developed countries.”

Global Media Study Released

Other developments at the conference included release of a wide-ranging study on the status of women in media. Key findings:

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.

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.

The 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.

NOW’s ‘Love Your Body’ Campaign Features Testimonial Videos on Body Image

For more than a decade, NOW Foundation's Love Your Body Campaign has been calling out the fashion, cosmetics and advertising industries for promoting unrealistic images of women. The campaign encourages women and girls to celebrate their bodies and reject the narrow beauty ideals endorsed in the media.

In February, the NOW Foundation partnered with the National Eating Disorders Association for NEDAwareness week. NOW Foundation solicited videos for its web site so women and girls could talk candidly about the influences that shape one’s perception of body image and that force many women and girls into unhealthy behaviors. Read and listen to more at http://loveyourbody.nowfoundation.org/letstalk/videos.html

Research in Depth Building Bias: Media Mediations of Rape and War by Linda Fuller

Research in DepthWho’s Wearing the Pants? How the New York Times Reported the Changing Dress of Women by Kimberly Wilmot Voss

Commentary – We Need More Discussion About Sexual Threats to Women by MRTW Editor Sheila Gibbons

Plus News Briefs!

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