Women in media still hitting glass ceiling

Women are well represented in newsrooms but struggle to find a place in senior management or on boards, said Business Day on Tuesday in a report on a study by Gender Links.

Women also still earn less than their male counterparts in the media, according to the survey conducted in South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

South Africa was at the top end of the scale (50%), beaten only by Lesotho (73%), when it came to the percentage of women in media for the region.

South Africa led when it came to top management positions, but the results were low with only 39% of South African women on boards, 25% in top management and 35% in senior management.

The research took place in the context of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, which urges the media and all institutions in the public and private sectors to achieve gender parity in decision making positions by 2015.

One-hundred-and-twenty-six media bodies representing 23 678 employees were reviewed while the South African study looked at 11 media, representing 11 700 employees, the Business Day report said.

More women (61%) then men (31%) were employed part-time and women were more likely to be employed in support departments such as human resources, marketing or advertising, finance and administration.

There was also a gender division of labour with men covering “hard” beats such as science and technology, in-depth or investigative reporting, disaster and conflict and agriculture.

Women dominated in education, gender violence, health, HIV/Aids, human rights, lifestyle, media and youth.

There was a gender balance in crime, entertainment, arts and culture.

None of the media in the South African sample had reached parity in earnings.

The Sunday Times, with annual salaries ranging from R309 949 for women and R373 419 for men, had the biggest gap in earnings.

The Mail & Guardian, with R344 080 for women and R357 159 for men, had the lowest gender gap.

Researchers said in South Africa a glass ceiling had been created by old-boy networks and gender insensitive work environments.

While there was a high level of commitment to gender equality in the media, there were no comprehensive and systematic policies to address the gender gap.

The Seychelles came third with gender parity in the media, with 49% women, followed by Mozambique (27%), Malawi (23%), Democratic Republic of Congo (22%) and Zimbabwe (13%).—Sapa


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