In newsrooms across the world, females remain under-represented with males dominating all levels of a news organisation. “The exclusion of most women meant journalism and politics were male-centered domains, largely promulgating masculine behaviours and norms,” (Meeks 2013). This perspective supports the notion that the public is persuaded to read bias, male dominated material due to the lack of diversity and female presence in the newsroom. For example, in 2012, woman were 38% of the daily newsroom workforce in the U.S and no woman owned a metropolitan newspaper or national news outlet (Meeks 2013).
Due to this unequal representation of women in the profession, females have been stereotyped as only being capable of reporting feminine topics “soft news” and to leave the masculine topics “hard news” to males. In order to close the gender inequality gap in the newsroom we need to break this so called “feminine news cult” to allow woman the opportunity to report on various topics.
After 50 years in television as a broadcast journalist, Barbara Walters has paved the way for female journalist. Walters’ became the first female co-anchor of the “ABC Evening News” with Harry Reasoner, who was not impressed that he had to host the show with a female. The below video reveals Reasoner as a sexist who disrespected Walters and saw woman as incapable of reporting the news.
The media industry would not be where it is today without Walters’ determination and hard work. She broke the glass ceiling and will continue to inspire women to rise up the rungs of the corporate ladder.
“And, most importantly, women are taken seriously on TV because people like her battled their way through a deeply sexist world. Walters was the first, and, because she triumphed, there will never be another like her” (Mirkinson, 2014).
All around the world there are strong independent woman who fight for equality, such as Beyoncé who embraces the feminist label. In a male dominated music industry, Beyoncé is an advocate for women’s power. On tour, she has an all-woman 10-piece backing band (The Sugar Mamas), women back-up singers and 120 women dancers from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds (Hobson 2015).
In her song, “Flawless”, she samples a powerful speech by Nigerian feminist and author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at a TED Talk. The speech which can be seen below, supports the idea that a feminist believes in equality of the sexes and empowers women to be ambitious.
In order to achieve gender equality throughout the journalism industry, we must strive to employ women at all levels of an organisation and encourage all genders in the newsrooms to operate in a positive collaborative environment. Thus, power and dominance will be equally shared.
Henson, 2014, Confessions of a Feminist Beyoncé Fan, image, Lipstick Alley, viewed 14 May 2015, <http://www.lipstickalley.com/showthread.php/719480-Confessions-Of-A-Feminist-Beyonce-Fan>
Hobson, J 2015, Beyoncé’s Fierce Feminism, Ms. Magazine Blog, weblog post, 7 March, viewed 14 May 2015, <http://msmagazine.com/blog/2015/03/07/beyonces-fierce-feminism/>
Meeks, L 2013, ‘He Wrote, She Wrote: Journalist Gender, Political Office, and Campaign News,’ Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Vol. 90, No. 1, pp. 58-74. <http://jmq.sagepub.com/content/90/1/58.abstract>
Mirkinson, J 2014, ‘How Barbara Walters Changed Everything,’ Huffington Post, viewed 14 May, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/16/barbara-walters-retirement-career-legacy_n_5312103.html>
Mirkinson, J 2014, Barbara Walters, image, Huffington Post, viewed 14 May 2015, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/16/barbara-walters-retirement-career-legacy_n_5312103.html>
Lily On Fillmore, 2014, Flawless: we should all be feminists, image, Lily On Fillmore, viewed 14 May 2015, <http://lilyonfillmore.com/flawless-we-should-all-be-feminists/>