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NUJ policy

NUJ policy is set by motions passed at delegate meetings (DM). Below is a selection of motions on sexism in the media.

Sexism and bullying (DM 2012)

This DM notes with concern women photographers' reports of sexism and bullying in the industry.

Women are woefully under-represented. According to a National Photographic Council survey published last year, women represent only 17 per cent of the news-gathering industry.

Photographers, both male and female, complained of a "boys club" mentality which excludes women, especially when they try to establish themselves in the industry.

Bullying and harassment occur on assignments, on social networks, internet forums and occasionally by the picture desks where women feel they are given only "soft story" jobs.

Women are often overlooked for staff positions or given limited shifts. One reported having to take her employer to a tribunal because she was on less pay than her male counterparts.

This DM believes that this situation is unacceptable and instructs the NEC to engage in active NUJ campaigning around the issues of gender, pay, sexism and bullying and seek to encourage more women getting a foothold in the industry through the NUJ mentoring scheme and other initiatives.

Further, we encourage our colleagues on picture desks to be mindful of the gender gap and seek to address the issues raised in this motion.

Representation of Women in the Media (ADM 2009)

This ADM notes the work of the Representations of Women in the Media, which found significant bias in media representation of women.

Analysis of magazines found that, in covers which featured people for their idealised appearance, 84 per cent were of women and 16 per cent were of men. In covers which featured people for what they do (sport, politics, music, etc), the proportions were reversed; 85 per cent of the images were of men and just 15 per cent were of women.

Newspaper research pictures and features of women in leadership were relatively rare, even when they were playing a prominent role in their field. The most frequent form of imaging was of women "without much on" (as the 10-year-old daughter of a researcher put it) and women as shoppers or mothers.

This ADM recognises the evidence of the Representations of Women in the Media project and acknowledges the impact of gender bias in our culture.

To take seriously the role of the media in representing women, this ADM instructs the NEC to actively promote positive and equitable media representations of women and to counter misrepresentations by circulating the results of the 2009 project to members and distributing these results to the wider publishing industry.

Appendix - details of the Representations of Women in the Media 2008 report, as presented to the NUJ Women's Conference in Feb 2009.

Sex advertisements (ADM 2008)

This ADM notes the increasing numbers of women being trafficked into Britain and forced to work as prostitutes.

This ADM instructs the NEC to ask members of the Society of Editors and the Newspaper Society not to carry advertising in their publications for massage parlours and other public or private establishments where sex is sold. The immorality of carrying such advertisements was recently highlighted by the South Wales Echo, which carried a story revealing that trafficked women who were raped and beaten were being forced to work at massage parlours in Cardiff. Media Wales, publisher of the Western Mail, Wales on Sunday, the South Wales Echo and Celtic Weekly Newspapers, has now agreed to carefully monitor advertising after it was pointed out by a Welsh Assembly member that the issue that carried the report also contained advertisements for three of the massage parlours named in the story.

Sexism/Stereotypes (ADM 1985)

This ADM welcomes and urges the active participation of all members in the 1985 campaign on updating images in the media launched by the Equality Council.

ADM, recognising that the media is a major influence in perpetuating popular misconceptions, wishes to re-emphasise the responsibility of all journalists to publicise information which refutes myths and corrects popular stereotypes of women, black people, disabled people and lesbian and gay people, and to promote positive images of these groups.

It calls on union negotiators to ensure there are clauses in house claims which recognise journalists' obligation to abide by Claude 10 of the Code of Conduct.

Code of conduct (ADM 1985)

This ADM endorses the principles contained in the Code of Conduct on Sexism in the Media adopted by the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom at its AGM on March 2 and urges all members to observe it.

ADM further urges the Equality Council to bring to ADM 1986 proposals whereby the code's principles may have full expression in official NUJ policy.