The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on media owners to take steps to raise women's profile in the news, both as professionals and as news topics.
The IFJ says too few women have so far reached leadership positions in media houses. An IFJ survey covering the Middle East and the Arab World to be released on 8 March in Bahrain found that despite scores of universities and journalism schools female graduates, women continue to lag behind men in the region with regard to access to leading roles in the newsroom and in the unions.
"The situation is deplorable," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Media organisations remain dominated by men the world over. Women must be given equal access to leadership. When that happens it will create a sea change in the news agenda and the way media professionals are treated."
The IFJ also says women lack visibility in the news content. Preliminary results of the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP), a worldwide survey assessing the presence of women in the news every five years, show that women represent 24 per cent of news coverage resulting in a picture of world news in which women are largely invisible.
"These results are appalling," said White. "Fair gender portrayal in news is not a side show. It needs to be taken seriously. We cannot continue to ignore the needs of half of the world's population."
The IFJ has committed itself to widely disseminating the GMMP results and engaging unions and news rooms to get involved in the debate. In particular, the IFJ plans to develop gender equality modules to be used in news reporting training.
For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 22 16
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide