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:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Harsh Reality of Reporting from the World's Hotspots

Reporters Without Borders released an analysis of the hardships women journalists face when they cover news in volatile areas that have cultural norms that resist the independence female journalists exemplify.  Read the report, released on International Women's Day, here:

Nieman Reports Republishes Critical Essays by Women Journalists

On the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, Nieman Reports has republished essays from 2001 and 2002, written by women passionate about journalism and clear-eyed about its shortcomings, particularly when it comes to reporting about women -- and employing them.  Read them at

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thursday, March 10: Watch A Webcast Panel Discussion at Global Journalist's International Women's Day

This week marks the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, and on March 10 Global Journalist invites you to join in a discussion about women in journalism for a live taping of its regular broadcast. The guests, who are journalists from Eritrea, China, Colombia, Iran and the U.S., will discuss the role of female journalists in newsrooms around the world. The community will be invited to participate in the conversation, ask the guests questions and share their own thoughts and experiences.
The event is FREE and open to the public. A reception will follow the live taping (Webcast details below.)

WHEN: March 10, 2011 6 p.m.- 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Fred W. Smith Forum, Reynolds Journalism Institute, University of Missouri-Columbia

You can reserve your spot here:
View the 1-minute promotional video here:


If you can't make the live event, Global Journalist would still like to hear your questions and comments. How?

* Watch the live show on March 10th 6-7:00 from the website -OR- tune in from 6:30-7:00 on KBIA-FM 91.3

* CALL with questions or comments during the live show 573-882-8925

* Or- email questions or comments at

* Or- Send a message on Facebook:!/globaljrnlist

* Or- Send a message on Twitter @GlobalJrnlist


Salem Solomon: In her home country of Eritrea, Solomon graduated with a degree in journalism and mass communications. She worked for more than two years as a producer and anchorwoman for the English-language newscast of Eri-TV, the nation’s largest television network. In Columbia, Salem hosts and produces Africa Talks, a talk show on Columbia Access Television. She also works in the International Programs Office at the University of Missouri.

You Li: Li is a PhD candidate at MU’s journalism school. Before coming to the United States, she worked as a reporter for the legal and political beat of a daily newspaper in Dalian, China. She was also editor-in-chief for two years for her university newspaper in Shanghai, where she also founded the school’s first student journalism association.

Mary Kay Blakely: A contributing editor to Ms. magazine since 1981 and former Hers columnist for The New York Times, Professor Blakely teaches writing courses in MU’s journalism school. Her essays on social and political issues have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Mother Jones, LIFE and Vogue.

And joining the conversation by phone and Skype:

Mónica Villamizar is a Colombian reporter for Al Jazeera English who has covered the Chile mining story, the conflict in Colombia and the Haiti earthquake, among others.

Golnaz Esfandiari is a senior correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. She previously worked in RFE/RL ‘s Central Newsroom as head of the Asia Desk and before that, as a correspondent covering developments in Iran and Afghanistan. Born in Tehran, Esfandiari's writing has focused on politics, human rights, and social issues in Iran and Afghanistan.

The Moderator will be Lee Wilkins, a professor at MU's journalism school. Wilkins studies and teaches media ethics, and she discusses media issues on the weekly broadcast of KBIA's Views of the News. She has received multiple teaching awards, and before academia Wilkins worked as a newspaper editor and reporter.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It's Women's History Month: Enough With Media Obsession About Bad-Boy Charlie Sheen

Actor Charlie Sheen seems to be getting about as much media coverage these days as Libyan leader Moammar Ghadafi, maybe more. Bad boys always seem to grab off the headlines, don’t they?These two are so much alike: bad tempers, revenge scenarios, buxom women close by to attend to their every need and seemingly oblivious to what truly awful persons these men are.

But this is National Women’s History Month.  I'm concerned that many media resources that could be examining how women are faring will continue to focus on the strange, twisted existence of Sheen, star of “Two and a Half Men,” a blockbuster hit for CBS that has been roiled by Sheen's recurrent substance abuse. Sheen has been acting as his own publicist since he was dropped by his longtime representative a few days ago. He's booked interviews with network interview programs and dished to them, People magazine and about his family (he is the father of five, four of whom are under 10 years of age), his “goddesses” (live-in girlfriends who share a bedroom with each other when one of them isn’t in bed with him), and his contentious approach to personal and business relationships, especially how much his employers owe to him for his innate fabulousness, and why his fondness for drugs and pornography is really no one's business. The result is that his estranged wife has obtained a restraining order against him, his toddler sons have been removed from his household, and production of “Two and a Half Men” has been suspended.  No show, no paychecks.  Not a problem for Sheen, said to be worth $85 million, but not so good for the rest of the people connected with the show.

If you push past the media obsession with Sheen, you just might learn that yesterday the White House released a statistical portrait called Women in America. This is the first comprehensive federal report on women since 1963, when the Commission on the Status of Women, established by President John F. Kennedy and chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, produced a report on the conditions of women. ( Among the findings:

Women have not only caught up with men in college attendance but younger women are now more likely than younger men to have a college or a graduate degree. Women are also working more and the number of women and men in the labor force has nearly equalized in recent years. As women’s work has increased, their earnings constitute a growing share of family income.

However, gains in education and labor force involvement have not yet translated into wage and income equity. At all levels of education, women earned about 75 percent of what their male counterparts earned in 2009. In part because of these lower earnings and in part because unmarried and divorced women are the most likely to have responsibility for raising and supporting their children, women are more likely to be in poverty than men. These economic inequities are even more acute for women of color.

Women live longer than men but are more likely to face certain health problems, such as mobility impairments, arthritis, asthma, depression, and obesity. Women also engage in lower levels of physical activity. Women are less likely than men to suffer from heart disease or diabetes. One out of seven women age 18-64 has no usual source of health care. The share of women in that age range without health insurance has also increased.

Women are less likely than in the past to be the target of violent crimes, including homicide. But women are victims of certain crimes, such as intimate partner violence and stalking, at higher rates than men.

All of these are matters that demand renewed effort to correct, but the last paragraph ought to get our attention, since it leads directly back to Charlie Sheen and others like him. His verbal and physical threats of female partners are now a matter of court action. If domestic violence continues to be such a terrible factor in the lives of women, as the White House report tells us it is, let’s ask that the hours of TV and radio airtime and gallons of printer’s ink being given over to Sheen and his egomania instead be used to discuss the issue of domestic violence with the seriousness it deserves. It’s a travesty to allocate so much coverage to a TV actor who engages in precisely this dangerous behavior and flaunts his celebrity as a way of deflecting attention from it. Enough, already.