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#IWD2016 gender discrimination & violence against women in the media

8 March 2016

An International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) report released on International Women’s day highlights the high levels of gender discrimination and violence against women in the media across the globe. 

The report states:

"We have hit a plateau, a place where movement and change appear non-existent".

Download the IFJ #IWD2016 report.

In many regions issues of violence, safety, bullying and harassment continue to undermine  women’s role in the media. In some regions, women suffer from  outright sexism and discrimination in newsrooms and hiring practices, while in others it is the lack of access to promotions and jobs, or increasing unemployment – with women having the lowest rates of re-hiring and most often forced into unstable working conditions.  

The Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) 2015 report also concludes that "Progress for women in news media has grinded to a halt." The GMMP 2015 report, which was conducted in 114 countries with the help of some IFJ affiliates, shows that women make up "only 24 per cent of the persons heard, read about or seen in newspaper, television and radio news, exactly the same level found in the 2010 report."
These GMMP findings echo many of the regional and country reports presented earlier this year to the IFJ gender council. The reports, compiled by IFJ affiliate members from around the globe, include snapshots of the situation for women journalists in: Palestine, Africa, Latin America, Europe, Mexico and Peru.  

Co-chair of the IFJ gender council, Mindy Ran, said:

"The aftermath of the financial crisis continues to impact many women journalists and their unions.

"With a return to the bad old days where equality is once again seen as a luxury item to be added on as an extra – not at the beating heart of our unions. It is a dangerous trend that will leave the most vulnerable forced out of the profession, or decision making posts in our unions, effectively erasing yet more of our voices."

IFJ president, Jim Boumelha, said:

"It is our responsibility to fight against any form of discrimination in the newsrooms.

"We urge our affiliates to build momentum for widespread action towards gender equality within our structures and in the media and mark International Women’s day by spreading the word that journalists’ unions stand by gender equality standards."

The IFJ calls on media companies to increase the number of women journalists in newsrooms and decision making posts. It also encourages affiliate unions to continue to promote equality within their own organisations and seek to have equal representation and urges them to pursue the fight against  bullying, harassment and violence against women journalists.  

The NUJ will be participating in the TUC women's conference later this week in London and the union has submitted the following emergency motion:

Violence against women in the world of work

On 8 February 2016 the International Business Times reported that one in eight workers experienced violence in the workplace according to a Trade Union Congress (TUC) survey. These alarming statistics serve to highlight this growing issue in the world of work.

Conference recognises the hard work by the ITUC women’s committee to get the issue of violence against women in the workplace on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) agenda 2018 and to create and support a convention. International conventions are essential tools, especially in countries where violence is rife, to pressure governments and employers to combat such violence.  

Conference further condemns the growing trend of women journalists being abused and threatened online and on social media, including rape and death threats. It also notes the rising levels of journalists around the world being targeted and killed because of their jobs, and the associated climate of impunity that allows killers to go unpunished.

Conference calls on the TUC to:

  • Build the broadest alliance to support this convention
  • Support work to enable women to anonymously report incidences of workplace violence
  • Work with NUJ and International Federation of Journalists to tackle the growing intimidation and violence against women reporters

Tags: , women, women in the nuj, women's rights, equality, international women's day, ifj, violence against women, online, journalist safety, ilo, tuc, tuc women's conference