Inequality is accurately depicted as “social or economic disparity” (Pantile et al, 2016). Inequality is demonstrated when two individuals are not seen as equals, and as a result of this, one is given opportunities that the other will not receive. Examples of such include; wealth, race, culture, religion, and gender. What this case study aims to discuss is the inequality between genders, in particularly in global journalism. Although gender inequality has come far from what it was 50 years ago, females are still “discriminated against in health, education, political representation, labour market, etc.—with negative consequences for development of their capabilities and their freedom of choice (Human Development Reports, 2016).” Specific areas where equality tends to be lacking have been identified in a study by Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins (2017, Davey). The three key areas identified were; “gender economic security, leadership positions and violence against women”.
In recent years, with the uproar of feminism, many journalism outlets have been slowly restructuring to give more female workers leadership positions and other opportunities that were not always considered. But in saying this, global journalism and media is still predominately dominated by males, with females taking stereotypical roles of fashion and beauty. Females have been found to represent the majority of journalists in news about “female politicians, birth control, fertility, sterilization and abortion; family relations; and a basket of topics that include beauty contests, modelling, fashion, and cosmetic surgery, in which two thirds of the subjects depicted in media coverage were women” (Oakford, 2015).
It is impossible to discuss gender inequality and journalism, without also critiquing sexism in the media industries globally. One particular example that is disturbing is gender inequality/sexism at Fox News. The network is notorious for sexual harassment allegations, and on air sexism.
This YouTube video demonstrates the extent of sexism in the Fox News environment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEoWSaM61NI
Ongoing from 2002 – 2016, Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly “had paid out $13 million to five women in exchange for their silence on allegations of sexual harassment” (Ali, 2017). The sexism allegations towards members of Fox News only get worse, “just a year ago, saw former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes accused, repeatedly, of attempting to leverage his power to solicit sex from, not to mention harass and even reportedly try to assault, female co-workers” (Cheung, 2017).
An Australian journalist, Tracey Spicer discussed her difficult time as a female in the media and journalism industry, in her new book Good Girl Stripped Bare. She discussed the emphasis on appearance and essentially sexualising the news; “I was told to stick my chest out more to show the audience my best ‘assets’. Bear in mind this is when we are reading the news, we are talking about the horrific things that are happening in Syria, we are told we must look more beautiful to tell the audience that” (ABC News, 2017).
Sexism and gender inequality within the media is not discussed enough, many believe that feminism is ridiculous and a movement of the past, but it is real and present because it is something that is currently happening in our society throughout all kinds of professions.
To further demonstrate, this table shows that “there are fewer women in top roles than there are men called John, Peter or David; CEOs and chairs of ASX 200 companies” (ABC News, 2017):
It is obvious that there is a problem with women’s equal access to roles across journalism and the media industries. In the post that follows, I will discuss interventions that have been made to try and address this situation, and increase the participation of women.
PANTILIE, A, & DOBRE, I 2016, ‘VULNERABILITIES IN THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT MODELLING OF ROMANIA’, Quality – Access To Success, 17, p. 378, Supplemental Index, EBSCOhost, viewed 5 September 2017.
White, 2016, ‘Meet the boss: Justice guru Kate Jenkins’, Sydney Morning Herald, Available From: < http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/meet-the-boss-justice-guru-kate-jenkins-20161002-grt9h9.html > [Viewed 5th of September 2017]
Oakford, 2015, Gender Equality is Still a Huge Problem in the Global News Media, Vice News, Available From: < https://news.vice.com/article/gender-equality-is-still-a-huge-problem-in-the-global-news-media > (Viewed 7th August 2017)
Gaines-Ross, 2015, When the Media Covers Gender Inequality, the C-Suite Listens, Harvard Business Review, Available From: < https://hbr.org/2015/10/when-the-media-covers-gender-inequality-the-c-suite-listens > (Viewed 7th August 2017)
Morris, 2016, A balanced media? Not when it comes to gender, ABC News, Available From: < http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-08/morris-a-balanced-media-not-when-it-comes-to-gender/7228262 > (Viewed 8th August 2017)
n.a, 2016, United Nations Development Programme: Human Development Reports, Available From: < http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/gender-inequality-index-gii > (Viewed 8th August 2017)
Davey, 2017, Australian report finds disturbing evidence of gender inequality, The Guardian, Available From: < https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/mar/08/australian-women-display-tremendous-resilience-in-face-of-gender-inequality-kate-jenkins-finds > (Viewed 8th August 2017)
Mediamatters4america, 2015, “70 Awful Displays Of Sexism On Fox News”, [Video], Available From, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEoWSaM61NI > (Viewed 8th August 2017)
Ali, 2017, Scandal, sexism and the role of women at Fox News, Los Angeles Times, Available From: < http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/la-et-st-bill-oreilly-sexual-harrassment-fox-news-women-20170405-story.html > (Viewed 8th August 2017)
Cheung, 2017, Who is Cleaning Up Fox News Legacy of Systemic Sexism? A Slew of Female Executives, Mediaite, Available From: < https://www.mediaite.com/online/who-is-cleaning-up-fox-news-legacy-of-systemic-sexism-a-slew-of-female-executives/ > (Viewed 8th August 2017)
n.a, 2017, ABC News, Available From, < http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-01/tracey-spicer-fights-back-against-sexism-in-media/8486446 > (Viewed 8th August 2017)