For the first time, sound data on gender positions in news organizations around the world has been published in the IWMF’s Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media. The findings were collected by more than 150 researchers who interviewed executives at more than 500 companies in 59 nations using a 12-page questionnaire.
The IWMF found that 73% of the top management jobs are occupied by men compared to 27% occupied by women. Among the ranks of reporters, men hold nearly two-thirds of the jobs, compared to 36% held by women. However, among senior professionals, women are nearing parity with 41% of the news gathering and editing.
The IWMF Global report identified glass ceilings for women in 20 of 59 nations studied. Most commonly, these invisible barriers were found in middle and senior management levels.
- Use the links above to read the Global Report regional summaries.
- Use the icons to the left to view the Global Report interactive tables of salary and occupation data.
This study was made possible by the generous support of: The Ford Foundation, The Loreen Arbus Foundation, Carolan K. Stiles, UNESCO Communications and Information Sector and The McClatchy Company Foundation.
The IWMF is grateful to the Knight Foundation for its generous support in launching and disseminating this report.
Middle East and N. Africa Summary
A number of important trends emerge in this region.
Women are generally marginalized within the journalism profession, though the degree varies considerably by nation. The situation is especially serious in Jordan, where men outnumber women 5:1, but is relatively better in both Egypt and Israel, where women are well over half the journalism workforce in the companies surveyed.
Men tend to outrank women across the region, particularly in the governance and top management levels, though again, there is variation. In Israel, women comprise approximately a third of those in these important decision-making ranks, whereas in Jordan, women in governance and top management are extremely low at around 12%.
Women journalists in this region experience the glass ceiling at the middle management occupational level. This varies somewhat by nation, e.g., for women in Morocco the glass ceiling is found at the senior management level. The glass ceiling denotes the point at which the percentages of women drop sharply in the job ranks above.
Gendered patterns in salary show men’s earnings to be three-to-five times greater than women in governance and top management, but more variable at other occupational levels. Observations about salaries are based on only small amounts of data from companies surveyed and require further research to establish a fuller picture.
Company policies, on the whole across the region, show fairly low concern for equality. While most have adopted policies on maternity leave and on returning women to their same jobs after maternity leave, they have been slower to put general policies on gender equity, sexual harassment and providing child-care assistance in place. An exception is Morocco, where most news companies have adopted progressive gender policies on most concerns.
A positive trend is seen in the area of job security. Most women, like men, in journalism within this region serve in full-time positions with benefits.
Sub-Saharan Africa Summary
Women journalists in Cameroonian companies surveyed are marginalized in terms of both their low participation and by the terms by which they are employed. The second of these indicates that men hold most of the full-time regular jobs in these companies. Because of higher overall participation, men also hold most of the jobs by all other terms of employment.
Women in journalism do show more of an advantage in pay scales, which suggest that they may be paid similar to or even higher than men in some newsroom jobs. The small number of companies surveyed make this finding a tentative one.
The companies surveyed show little inclination to adopt policies that would advance women in the profession.
In terms of ratios of men to women, there is a pervasive pattern of women’s under-representation across the region. In only one nation surveyed – Puerto Rico – did women journalists slightly outnumber men. By contrast, men outnumbered women by 2:1 in 5 nations – Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Ecuador. The ratios of men to women were more moderate in Canada, United States and Venezuela.
Four distinct patterns emerge along gender lines in relation to women’s status in newsrooms of the Americas surveyed. First is women’s general under-representation across occupational levels of the newsroom. Peruvian companies, where men outnumber women by more than 2:1, was one example of this pattern of under-representation.
The second pattern along gender lines was that of a glass ceiling: the presence of a specific occupational level serving as an invisible barrier beyond which women advanced in only small numbers. Glass ceilings were especially noticeable in Canada, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and United States.
The third pattern in women’s status along gender lines was that of moderate access to most or even all occupational levels of newsrooms. In this pattern, women may be fewer than men in the workforce overall, but they had achieved relatively even access to jobs in their companies. Costa Rica and Venezuela were examples of this pattern.
The fourth pattern was that of women’s absence at the tops of companies in governance and top management levels. In governance, women’s representation ranged from 8.6% in Chile to 37.5% in Costa Rica. It bears noting that women journalists in the U.S. and Puerto Rico are close behind those in Costa Rica (35.3% and 32.3%, respectively). This suggests that women are moving moderately into board rooms and other top policy posts in some nations’ newsrooms of the region.
In top management levels, women’s overall representation was noticeably higher than in governance. This ranged from 20% in Dominican Republic to 43.5% in Venezuela. Women in Ecuadoran newsrooms followed closely behind with 40.7%. In spite of glass ceilings – which tended to fall at the senior management level in several nations – women are advancing toward parity in the highest management roles of news companies of the Americas.
The predominant pattern in employment throughout the Americas for both women and men is regular, full-time jobs. This finding demonstrates a pattern of job security in employment in most newsrooms surveyed. The major exceptions occur in Costa Rica and Dominican Republic, where, in both cases, most journalists are hired in arrangements other than regular full-time, part-time or contractual labor.
Asia and Oceana Summary
The snapshot afforded by the Australian companies that took part in the Global Report study shows that the glass ceiling effect is much in evidence. Women gain moderate access to jobs in the junior and senior professional ranks (e.g., junior and senior writers, editors and producers), but are greatly marginalized in all levels of management and in governance.
Gender disparity is also reflected in salary data, which shows men make higher salaries than women in high ranges of occupational levels. Salaries are more similar for men and women in the low ranges for most occupational levels.
Most women working in Australian newsrooms are employed full time with benefits. Most companies surveyed have gender equity policies, though the effect of these is yet to be seen in women’s occupational access, advancement or salary levels.
Eastern Europe Summary
The 85 companies surveyed in 8 Eastern European nations show strong tendencies toward gender egalitarianism. Women are well-represented in nearly all occupational levels, even exceeding men in the key news-gathering and production roles in the junior and senior professional level. Women are in a particularly strong position in Russia, nearing parity in top management and being around a third in governance.
Across the region, women are most seriously under-represented in the technical roles associated with production and design and technical professional levels – these remain men’s occupational domains in the newsrooms surveyed.
Men’s and women’s salaries are comparable across occupational levels for the most part, with men’s being slightly higher than women’s in a few occupational levels. The anomaly of men’s dramatically higher salary than women’s in governance at the regional level is a skew produced by a few companies in Ukraine reporting exceptionally high salaries for male executives.
Women’s job security is excellent in the Eastern European companies surveyed, with most newsroom employees (both men and women) serving in regular full-time jobs. It bears noting, however, that of the approximately one-fourth of the journalistic workforce not holding regular, full-time jobs, women are in the majority. These include part-time, contract and freelance terms of employment.
Most companies surveyed in the region have adopted policies on maternity and paternity leave, and on returning women to the same jobs after maternity leave. Most companies also offer educational training for women. In contrast, few have policies on gender equality or child care.
Nordic Europe Summary
The Nordic region has been strongly shaped by active labor movements and legislative histories that provide an unusually well-developed system of laws and other mechanisms for women’s equality in the workplace. Understanding the findings from this study requires consideration of these macro-level factors.
The 32 Nordic companies participating in the study together demonstrate a relatively high degree of gender equality at the occupational level. Women are nearing parity with men in the news reporting and production occupations of newsrooms, and they have moderate (above a third) representation in the management and governance levels. The last of these – women’s participation at the top of companies – was possible to determine in all nations except Denmark, which provided no information in this category.
The great majority of the journalistic workforce, both men and women, in the Nordic region has secure employment, holding regular, full-time jobs with benefits. Still, men benefit somewhat better than women, both in the full-time category and in most other categories of less-secure employment. These include part-time and contract employment, both of which include larger numbers of women.
Study findings might suggest that Nordic news company policies show an uneven commitment to gender equity. For example, about half of the companies surveyed have adopted gender equality and sexual harassment policies. In fact, national laws provide strong prohibitions of discrimination based on gender, including sexual harassment, and some companies have not adopted separate guidelines.
Similarly, the wide availability of publicly funded child-care facilities explains why few companies provide additional support for these. Companies uniformly comply with national laws by specifying maternity and paternity policies, including returning women to their former jobs after maternity leave.
Western Europe Summary
Women are nearing numerical parity with men in the 47 newsrooms of the 4 Western European nations surveyed. There is particularly strong representation in the junior and senior professional categories that include the major news gathering, editorial and production jobs.
The glass ceiling for European women journalists is at the senior professional level, illustrated by their limited representation in higher-ranking jobs associated with management and top decision-making roles.
Women’s low representation is particularly acute in top management and governance levels (i.e., where company financial and other major decisions affecting both news and gender relations are made), where women number only around a fourth. This same phenomenon arises in most other regions, as well.
Men have greater job security than women in the companies surveyed. More than half the women in the region’s journalistic workforce are employed in some arrangement other than full-time with benefits. Part-time regular or contract arrangements are the most common. By contrast, most men are employed in full-time, regular jobs with benefits.
Company policies are not uniformly supportive of gender equality in the nations surveyed. While nearly all companies comply with EU requirements for maternity leave and certain other protections, only two-thirds of the companies have a specific policy on gender equity, and fewer than half have a sexual harassment policy.