As calls for female representation across all industries intensify, news organisations have been making progress towards giving women a greater voice in newsrooms, although some, like Sky Sports, have made more efforts than others.
In the UK broadcast sector, women accounted for 41 per cent of senior management roles in 2018, up three per cent from the previous year. As for female representation across all levels, however, women accounted for 46 per cent of TV jobs, dropping one per cent from 2017.
One voice leading the call for greater female representation is Hannah Storm, CEO of the Ethical Journalism Network.
According to Storm, organisations like the Huffington Post seem to have ingrained diverse workplaces from the very beginning, meaning its management structures are better equipped to set up diversity-led initiatives.
"Many legacy organisations are starting to take issues of diversity seriously, but obviously it may take a little longer for them to do this, especially when you're talking about effectively changing the direction of a super-tanker," said Storm.
After I was assaulted, I briefly considered leaving journalism. But this is a profession I remain passionate about. It's one where we have a responsibility to shine a light...Shamed into silence: my #metoo story @Poynter https://t.co/ZkwEI11j2r— HANNAH STORM (@HANNAHSTORM6) October 3, 2018
One of those organisations, she pointed out, is France 24. Through its programme The 51%, the broadcaster won the Ricardo Ortega Prize by the UN Correspondents Association for a report on female peacekeepers.
ITV News is not ignoring this issue either. According to the 2018 Ofcom report, women accounted for 53 per cent of TV roles at the broadcaster, up one per cent from the previous year. In senior management, that number grew from 42 to 45 per cent.
Rachel Corp, deputy and acting editor for ITV News, said that the broadcaster has realised it needed to balance out the positions that have traditionally been dominated by men, such as camera crews.
"We have been actively seeking to make sure all departments are more balanced so you are seeing more women come up in areas where perhaps they haven’t in the past," she explained.
This thinking, Corp added, extends to making sure all members of staff are made to feel included in decisions and able to vocalise their concerns in the newsroom, particularly important in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement.
Storm added that women are subjected to unwarranted comments in the workplace and quality discussions are needed to deliver the "sea of change."
"Women are more likely to have comments made about their appearance rather than their ability," she said.
"When stories fail to include women, or when they reinforce stereotypes, this is incredibly damaging."
These concerns are reflected in the Global Media Monitoring Project’s (GMMP) most recent report which publishes every five years, the next one to come in 2020.
Congratulations to @tweet_gamag on the publication of this set of position papers on #gender and #media. Thank you @UNESCO @guyberger @IAMCRtweets @waccglobal. Watch the space https://t.co/70rWRqFuwp for more! @aimeevegam @UN_Women @Internews @IFJGlobal @IAWomenHQ @ITforChange pic.twitter.com/WE3RnAULKp— WACC WhoMakesTheNews (@whomakesthenews) July 5, 2019
The 2015 study covered more than 20,000 news items across 100+ countries, and found that women make up considerably fewer expert sources than men in the UK and Ireland - only 28 per cent across newspapers, radio, TV, online and through social media.
Also, women are significantly under-represented in hard news stories and were nearly twice as likely to write stories with a central female focus.
One of the intiatives launched to tackle this was the BBC’s 50:50 Project in which the broadcaster committed to reach 50 per cent of women on-screen, on-air and in lead roles across all genres from drama to news by 2020, according to the website.
Another small but effective step that all newsrooms can take is keeping a tally of voices used in broadcasts and aiming to achieve a 50-50 split of men and women, which ITV News exercises in its newsroom.
"We have a look in every editorial meeting at our projected balance of voices," Corp said.
"We look at who we are putting on stories in terms of correspondence and make sure that we are striving for a balanced range of voices across the board."
This prism also affected hiring practices at the broadcaster, where both a man and a woman are required to interview applicants and have a pledge to shortlist a diverse range of candidates.
We are diving deeper into driving diversity in your newsroom at our Newsrewired conference on 27 November at Reuters, in London. Head to newsrewired.com for the full agenda and tickets
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