Wednesday, March 23, 2011

'Educate A Woman, Develop A Nation"

"When you educate a woman, you develop a nation."  So said Barbara Kaija, editor in chief of New Vision Printing and Publishing Company of Uganda this morning as the International Women's Media Foundation released its long awaited Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media.  To the importance of educating women, she would likely add "and train them to be journalists," as she and other delegates to this week's IWMF conference in Washington discussed why female journalists are important for improving societies and offering a clear, more inclusive vision for the future of the world. 

The two-year long study examined 522 media organizations in 59 countries.  Data were collected and interviews conducted in 40 languages.  Standardizing data collection categories across cultures and different organizational models was a vexing challenge, said Dr. Carolyn Byerly of Howard University, the study's director.  Most organizations were forthcoming with information, she said, adding that the most resistance to disclosing employee data came from media organizations in the most developed countries.

Researchers found that 73% of the top media management jobs are occupied by men compared to 27% occupied by women. Among the ranks of reporters, men hold nearly two-thirds of the jobs, compared to 36% held by women. However, among senior professionals, women are nearing parity with 41% of the newsgathering, editing and writing jobs.
The global study identified glass ceilings for women in 20 of 59 nations studied. Most commonly these invisible barriers were found in middle and senior management levels. Slightly more than half of the companies surveyed have an established company-wide policy on gender equity. These ranged from 16% of companies surveyed in Eastern Europe to 69% in Western Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The full report of the study is here:

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