Inside the News: UNESCO Bangkok launches a regional study on women journalists

In many countries across Asia and the Pacific, women have increased their number in the newsrooms. But the media are still very male dominated: on the global scale women make up only 24% of the people heard, read about or seen in the news and only few manage to reach decision-making position within media organizations.

The research study Inside the News: Challenges and Aspirations of Women Journalists in Asia and the Pacific, released by UNESCO’s Office in Bangkok, UN Women and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), highlights how issues of gender impact the lives and work of journalists in the region with specific case studies from Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu.

What does a snapshot of gender in the region’s media scene look like today? What is the position of women in news production and in the management of media outlets? What are their working conditions and career development opportunities? What challenges do they face?

The study, which will be launched during a public event on 22 June at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand in Bangkok, assesses the situation of women journalists in Asia and the Pacific 20 years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and proposes actions to foster gender equality in the media of the region.

The publication of the study and the organization of the launch event were made possible thanks to the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Selection of key findings

  • Jobs women in the media do: Reporters (30%), Feature writers (16%), Editors (11%), Sub/Copy Editors (10%), Columnists (8%), News Anchor (8%), Producers (7%), Photographers (5%), Design/Layout (2%), Media support (2%), Camera/Sound (1%)
  • Gender pay gap in Asia-Pacific media: $US 69 (Average monthly salary $US 437 by women, $US 506 by men).
  • How can we foster gender equality in media? Women journalists say ‘Having more women in decision making roles’ (25%), ‘Affirmative employment strategies’ (20%). Male journalists say ’Having more women in the media at every level’ (28%), ‘More family friendly work conditions’ (22%).
  • Women at work in the media: 3 out of 10 news staff are women. 23% of women are middle editorial decision makers; 20% are senior editorial decision makers; 18% are media executives.
  • 18% of women journalists have experienced sexual harassment at work.
  • Do women have enough visibility in unions? 48% of the respondents say ‘No’, 23% say ‘Yes’, 25% ‘don’t know’.

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