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Category: Girls, International, Media

Ending the Boys-Club Media Monopoly through Quotas in the Newsroom

March 29, 2011

Directors of media organizations from twenty-five countries met last week to discuss the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Global Report on the Status of Women in the Media which found, not surprisingly, a large gender disparity in newsrooms around the world.

The report found that in the 522 global companies surveyed, women represent only a third of the full-time journalism workforce and only one-quarter of the senior management roles in news media. Additionally, it found that men hold the majority of the seats on governing boards (74.1%) and in top management (72.7%) across seven regions.

In the United States, while women account for 41% of the overall news media workforce, less than a fourth of those in top management and only a third of those in governance level roles are women.

Among the strategies discussed at the International Women Media Leaders Conference, enforcing hiring equality through the imposition of quotas emerged as the most popular way to “level the playing field.” In a panel discussion at the conference, Ines Pohl, the first woman to head a German national newspaper, stated "we have a strict quota for each section," adding that female leaders should be more visible to inspire younger generations.

Several studies have shown that the adoption of affirmative action policies have led directly to an increase in racial and gender equality in the workplace. By imposing a quota in newsrooms worldwide, women will be given the opportunity to become visible leaders in the field. According to the International Women’s Media Foundation, “The IWMF believes that there can be no full freedom of the press until women have an equal voice in the news-gathering and news dissemination processes.”

In the US, the majority of the media is owned by five major companies which own 95% of the media that we consume every day. With an already limited media perspective, we can at least hope for female inclusion in the boys-club media monopoly.