The International Federation of Journalists has launched a 7-point global Action Plan to combat discrimination in media organisations and to reinforce union eforts to crack the "glass ceiling" that keeps women out of top jobs.
A detailed survey presented to the IFJ 24th World Congress in Seoul today reveals that despite the fact women comprise at least 38 per cent of the workforce in journalism - less than 1 per cent of media executive posts are held by women.
"This Action plan is long overdue. The challenge to journalists unions and media organisations is for them to make good on promises made years ago to create equality in journalism," said Christopher Warren, IFJ President.
The Action Plan, which was agreed at a special conference prior to the Congress opening calls for:
- Improvements in working conditions to meet the priorities of women workers
- Promotion of women to higher jobs in the unions
- Campaigning to strengthen demands for equal pay
- Putting womens' issues into the mainstream of union work
- Ensuring women have equal access to training opportunities
- Creating an Internet network for the exchange of information
- Coalitions with other womens' organisations to end media stereotyping.
"Quality journalism means an accurate portayel of the society in which we live," said IFJ Project Director Bettina Peters, author of the survey, "As long as media portray women in traditional or stereotyped roles they will be responsible for giving a distorted and inaccurate picture of peoples' lives." The platform for action is aimed at co-ordinating action at international and national level.
"We need to get beyond fancy words and well-meaning declarations," said Bettina Peters, "What unions need are arguments, parctical advice and a network of contacts that will build the foundation for change. We want to make a tangible difference to women's working lives and their professional prospects.