In the Blog

First global report on the status of women in news media released

March 24th, 2011     by Anastasia Szakowski     Comments

The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) has released their global report (found here) on the status of women in news media.

Gathering information from 59 countries on women’s roles in decision-making and governing, the report found that women represent only a third (33.3%) of the full-time journalism workforce of the over 500 companies surveyed. Also from the report:

…researchers found that 73% of the top management jobs are occupied by men compared to 27% occupied by women. Among the ranks of reporters, men hold nearly two-thirds of the jobs, compared to 36% held by women. However, among senior professionals, women are nearing parity with 41% of the newsgathering, editing and writing jobs.

The survey of 11 Canadian companies revealed that while women hit the glass ceiling, there is considerable inequality among governance and high-level positions. Women represent 26.3% of governance positions and 39.4% of top-level management positions. Below the glass ceiling, however, women are at parity or exceed the number of men in management and junior positions—except in production, design, and other technical roles.

These numbers are bit heartening, right? But let’s talk about salaries. None of the Canadian companies revealed what they pay in governance positions. Of the information researchers did receive, they found that the higher up a woman is positioned in a company, the more likely she is to make less than men in the same position.

Data show considerable variation in salary averages for women and men, particularly in the higher average ranges. In other words, men’s and women’s salaries are fairly similar in the average low salary ranges at nearly all occupational levels. The differences along gender lines appear more clearly at the average high salary ranges. Most of these differences show women at a disadvantage. For example, men make notably more than women in the average high salary range of top-level management, senior-level professional, junior-level professional, technical professional, and sales, finance and administration. Men’s and women’s salaries are nearly identical at both average low and average high ranges in middle management and in production and design.

So what does gender equality in the workforce actually mean in Canada? If it’s equal representation (which is what many company-based gender equality programs are based on) we’ve achieved it in some areas. But if it means representation and equal pay for equal work, especially at high levels, we’re not quite there yet. It’s disconcerting that so few women are owning and operating media establishments, and those running them are, on average, not being compensated fairly.

While the number of countries included and the key regional findings in the report are excellent, what isn’t included is the report’s major flaw—statistics on race, sexuality, and transwomen. All play important roles in investigating disparities in salary and lack of representation. Hopefully these factors will be acknowledged in future studies to allow for a more comprehensive overview of the status of women.

More on women in news media:

Tags: media savvy

« Review of Women in the Field: Lunch with Jan Wong

This Sunday: Wear your slut pride at SlutWalk »