Gender inequality in the media today is a very common thing. It used to be before, it is now and if we won’t act against it, will gon on forever.
Mass media is said to be the fourth power in democratic states. It is the carrier of public opinion. Besides mass media is supposed to tackle social problems and raise awareness.
It also fights for equality throughout the world. In a nutshell, media is a sword in hands of people. Devoted journalists use this sword quite effectively and contribute to the development of societies.
Anyway, gender inequality in the media today remains a huge problem. So, find out the reasons for such bias treatment in supposedly the most impartial sphere with examples, actually.
The portrayal of women in media shares a lot in common with previous traditions. But still, there is a light at the very end of the tunnel. Stay tuned to learn about how to create equality in media.
Gender Inequality in the Media Today
Portrayal of Women in Media
There is no exaggeration that gender inequality in the media today is quite an obvious problem. Women are actually underrepresented in media coverage.
Who should we blame on? Society? I think it is not enough to blame on the society and wait for results and changes without acting. More efforts should be made. Anyway, stereotypical examples of the portrayal of women in media have their roots in traditions and cultures. And when we let figures speak actually the reality becomes more disappointing because:
- The study of New Zealand’s 2014 election coverage found out that 71 percent of sources used were male.
- According to the study called “A Paper Ceiling,” the ratio of male to female names across approximately 2000 English-language newspapers and online news webpage over was nearly 5:1.
- Men continue to be far more likely to be mentioned as experts or as main sources of news whereas women are treated as “general public” sources
What? Are women found less reliable than men? I do not think there are any reasonable explanations for such a statistics idea than stereotypes about women such us being extremely emotional, addicted to gossiping and spreading fake news. Nonsense! Just google “Oprah Winfrey”.
The Historical Portrayal of Women in Media
The thing that men are treated differently in media even today is nothing new. In the 80s fully two-thirds of the speaking on TV were for men. Women were portrayed younger and thinner than women in the population as a whole, and most were depicted as passive, dependent on men.
Doing housework was their main goal. Moreover, media created two images of women: good women and bad ones. Good women were pretty, deferential, and focused on home, family and caring for others. Women representing traditional roles were portrayed positively.
In a nutshell, media portrayed women departing from cultural stereotypes. This is how girls and women were dramatically underrepresented. Even the remarkable cartoons and movies had that very bias and traditional portrayal of women.
Walt Disney’s award-winning animated film The Little Mermaid comes to show the image of women from 70s-80s very vividly. It is a good example to show females’ dependence on males for identity.
The thing is that the mermaid literally gives up her identity as a mermaid in order to become acceptable to her human lover. It represents women as vulnerable and more submissive while men are those in control.
Anyway, the previous century’s media was remarkable with women who fought for freedom as well. The movies such as “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” and “Diary of a Mad Housewife”, and “An Unmarried Woman” often used to represent realistic portraits of women.
They sought and found their own voices independent of men. This is how television cooperated in returning women to their traditional roles.
Gender Inequality in the Media Today: What are the examples?
Gender inequality is a huge challenge for global media even today. It seems like the process of achieving equality has just halted. This not only about the portrayal of women but also the pay gap and unequal opportunities women face today.
According to the UN statistics, women make up nearly the quarter of the people “heard, read about or seen in newspaper, television and radio news.” By the way, this percentage varies from region to region and measures taken to make media equal for both male and female is stagnant.
The US is among the countries that experience gender inequality in the media today. Women make up only 37% of positions in America. Issues women in media face at workplaces range from sexual harassment to pay gap and fewer opportunities to get promotions.
Women employed as presenters or reporters in Latin America make 29% today. As for the conservative and the traditional Middle East, only 18% of news subjects in print, radio and television news were women in 2015.
In other words, women outnumber men as television presenters across the world only 38% of women in media get the task to report the news really on air. Moreover, many channels, directors, and even journalists keep on being sexist and asking such kind of questions. So, here are some examples of sexist moments in media.
Gender Inequality in the Media Today #1: The Stepford Wives
This film depicts the role of housewife and how oppressive it can be. Actually, the film focuses on a couple who move to the suburb of Stepford.
It is a perfect and safe place to live. The woman of Stepford is represented as perfect housewife. She literally obeys her husband. But very soon the main character Joanna, realizes that this town is not that perfect. All those women of Stepford are robots controlled by their husbands.
Actually, this is not the only example of world cinematography enlarging upon the portrayal of women as housewives. Such movies have quite important messages for everybody who is that stereotypical about women.
Gender Inequality in the Media Today #2: Cam Newton Couldn’t be any More Sexist
Journalists can sometimes be very rude and ask questions that you simply freak out about. However, they can also become a target for sexist comments and answers.
Cam Newton is a quarterback of the Carolina Panthers. After being asked whether he enjoyed the fact that his wide receiver “really seemed to embrace the physicality of his routes,” he dropped this bias and partial answer:
“It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes like — it’s funny.”
After this answer went viral online, female reporters voiced the sexist behavior they’ve had to endure while working.
Gender Inequality in the Media Today #3: Amy Poehler Stands Up the Sexist Interview
Movie stars are always in the spotlight of journalists. So this is why they can become a “good” target for any kind of sexist question. This is true about the American Actress Amy Poehler.
Anyway, she knew how to stand up that question. Enjoy it guys! She just nailed the answer.
Journalist: There used to be this myth that women can’t be as funny as men…
Amy: Ugh, this question is boring… It’s like talking about the world being flat.
Gender Equality in Media Has Never Been So Easy-Breezy
The pillar of democracy is equality. In terms of job opportunities, it means that women and men must share the same professional opportunities, equal pay and feel equally represented in the workplace.
However, the struggle for such equality has a long way to go. It is true about media as well. Anyway, there is no problem that has no solutions.
With the best vision for future media as an impartial platform for both men and women, I share some tips to make the workplace more equal and beat gender inequality in the media today.
Tip #1: News for Women, From Women and About Women
In this case, covering “women’s issues” is not enough. Ensure the content is balanced in terms of diversity.
Women should be involved in shaping issues as media’s main task. This will definitely build readership.
Tip #2: Let Women Have Promotions
It is impossible to create balance without physical representation of women in the newsroom.
In other words, women should be represented in all levels of media.
Tip #3: Pay Equality is a Must
Regardless your devotion to the job payment works like a driving force. Equal payment is more motivational. Actually, women face this pay gap in all spheres.
Media is no exception. So efforts made to reduce this gap will definitely be more beneficial than you think.
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