Loura Al Alanezi is a Politics (BA) student. She is from Kuwait, and she reports on the topics of poverty, mobility, security and conflict. Her hobbies include reading books and painting.
According to journalists, the most important responsibility of journalists in the United Kingdom is to provide information with accuracy. In doing so, female journalists face various personal challenges and working conditions that make their roles more complex than their male counterparts’. Personal challenges may include face online harassment and abuse due to their line of work. While at work, women may struggle with working aboard and staying safe whilst avoiding sexual harassment. There are also challenges within the work environment that include selecting topics and their perspectives to emphasize. These challenges may interfere with a female journalist’s ability to convey stories.
In the United Kingdom, around forty-five per cent of journalists identify as women. However, regardless of the number of female journalists, women continue undergoing difficulties within their job environment. According to a study, more male journalists felt they had the freedom to decide what should be emphasized in their work. The study also proved that men feel more freedom when it comes to choosing the topics of their articles. Furthermore, gender inequalities also interfere with job promotions and titles. For example, men are more likely to be senior managers, while women are more likely to be promoted to junior management roles. A female journalist mentioned in a study that a possible explanation for this could be that senior roles are mostly filled by men, they may also be more likely to promote other male employees.
Moreover, the gender pay gap remains a prominent issue within various UK-based media companies. A study conducted by the Press Gazette showed that 91 per cent of UK-based media companies paid men more than women on average. The study showed that Condé Nast, the publisher of Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair, paid women 36.9 per cent of men’s hourly wage. That means women earn 63p for every £1 that men earn.
Female journalists are also more at risk when covering wars and conflicts in foreign countries. Women in those roles face the added risk and fear of experiencing sexual assault and harassment. Female journalists are also three times more likely to receive abusive online comments than their male counterparts. Regardless of these risks, female journalists have shared that their superiors pressure them to be active on social media, since platforms such as Twitter have become essential for journalists. Some receive so many rape threats to the point that it has become a norm.
There should be more training and awareness within the police and legal system to protect female journalists against harassment. Another vital solution to combat the root cause is normalizing women being on social media and speaking up in public regarding said harassment. There should also be further education and awareness campaigns regarding men’s behaviour. Furthermore, media companies should aid female journalists so they can continue giving new perspectives on current debates and events.
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2. Gardiner, B., (2016). New Challenges to Freedom of Expression: Countering Online Abuse of Female Journalists. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. [online]. Available from: https://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/18496/1/Countering%20Online%20Abuse%20of%20Female%20Journalists.pdf (Accessed 14 February 2022).
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[Feature image sourced from Vector.]