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Negative attitudes towards women journalists

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Women in Media
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The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said that despite the fact that women comprise at least 38 per cent of the workforce in journalism, less than one per cent of the media executive posts are held by women. The list of obstacles is long.: negative attitudes towards women journalists, lack of equal pay, lack of access to further training, lack of access to decision-making positions etc.

The International Federation of Journalists, the world's largest journalists' group, further says "Around the world the struggle for equality in media is a constant battle for recognition of women's rights. The issue is always there whether it is in discrimination over jobs and pay or in the diet of sexist and titillating journalism that still contributes to the difficulties faced by women in all sections of society," the IFJ said.

Now we have questions. Why does the media characterize women negatively? Why does the media not give importance to creating public opinion to fight the causes which put women in vulnerable situations? Why are women journalists still identifying with stereotyped attitudes, unfair treatment, and job insecurity? Why isn't the media making an effective effort to mainstream a gender perspective in policies and programs? Even the Beijing Platform underlines the increased participation of women in media. We have more questions: Have there been advocacy efforts to monitor and work with media, gender-sensitive training for media professionals, owners and managers? How much have women's participation in the media increased in the last decade? Globally, the media shows little interest in women's issues, and most of it is negative.

The media does not seem to have given adequate attention to women's issues. Regarding women's issues the media has been at worst sensationalist and irresponsible. Few women are given space as well in the news and informative features in print and electronic media. And even in the presentation of some women celebrities, more importance is given to their personal affairs than their capabilities and achievements.

Even women's participation in journalism, including electronic and print media, marked a rise in the last couple of years but most of them give up the profession for various problems. There is also a lack of women's representation in agencies. Their roles are limited. Work environment needs to be encouraging. Another common feature of media's presentation of women is their objectification of women as entertainment fixtures or sex symbols. The women movie artists are attacked with vulgar language. Women's limited participation in media is considered a major obstacle to a positive and inspiring portrayal of women. A woman has to take care of her profession after looking after their family. The media should inspire all to make opinions and decisions on development, human rights, women's rights and women's place in a society.

ASMIT feminist magazine argued: "Women's groups have to pay more attention to their relationship with the media. They should ensure a continuous lobby for a gender-sensitive national media policy. They should also work toward clarifying to reporters, editors and other media practitioners, in terms of disposition and skill, the intricacies of incorporating a gender perspective into their work".

The media can influence and should provide accurate guidance about women's issues. As we know most of the plans have remained silent about women's participation in the media sector. Globally, there are some policies such as the national policy on communications, the Press and Publication Act, national-broadcasting by-laws made, but they are not implemented in a true spirit. Sexy and wrong characterization of women has to be stopped. Women's participation should be encouraged in journalism. The media should also analyses the involvement of women in economic, social and cultural aspects and help improve the situation.

More and more women should be encouraged to join the editorial section of the media. It is important that the journalists should have a positive attitude towards women's issues. Similarly, the presentation of women in the media in a manner which exploits them physically as well as mentally should be discouraged.

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Journalist, poet and editor Kamala Sarup specializes in reporting news and writing stories covering journalism, Peace, Public health, Democracy, Women/Children, development, justice and advocacy from her location inside the United States. Human (more...)

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