Women across the globe marched for their rights, or lack of, on January 21, 2017. Marches, protests, and strikes to ensure that we will live in a world where gender equality is no longer a debate, but a promise and an obligation have sparked debates, discussions, and hope.
That hope flows into many areas including journalism. While there is a notable presence of women in the media, we haven’t seen much change in the past few years. “Female representation in newsrooms has budged very little since 1999. Back then, women made up 36.9% of the newsroom staff. Now, it’s 36.3%,” according to a 2016 article from TIME Magazine.
Women obtain two-thirds of the journalism degrees acquired through four-year universities, according to Mark Shrayber ofJEZEBEL. It isn’t that less women are going through schooling in order to work in the media, they are backing down when it comes to taking jobs. The pressure women go through in the job selection process in comparison to men is enough to make them stray away from the newsroom altogether.
In Suzanne Franks’ book, Women and Journalism, she notes, “Women substantially outnumber men in journalism training and enter the profession in (slightly) greater numbers, but still today relatively few are rising to senior jobs and the pay gap between male and female journalists remains a stubbornly wide one.” While women are taking jobs in the journalism field, they aren’t moving up the career ladder compared to their male counterparts. This could explain why so few remain in the profession.
In a world where many women yearn for equality, why is it that women hold less than half of newsroom jobs? What can be done to ensure that we are getting our news from equal and accurate sources and not just information reported by men for men? Can a male-dominated media fairly and accurately report on topics such as defunding Planned Parenthood, Roe v.Wade, and the Women’s March?
The time for change is now. Journalism is here to give all people a voice. The public needs to hear all sides of the story. It is a journalist’s job to give a voice to the voiceless, not just to one gender, ethnicity, religion, or socioeconomic class. To promote change in our society and in the media, we must heighten the awareness of the lack of the female voice and work to improve such.