Gender Inequality in Broadcast Journalism

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Updated: Feb 19, 2021
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The news media is one of thea most powerful institution whichs that exerts a tremendous amount of influence on society. Although more women females are entering the male dominated newsroom, women are still underrepresented and excluded in many differentmultiple ways. It is evident that females hold a strong interest in journalism; in fact, sixty- five percent of journalism school graduates are female However, women only represent thirty percent of jobs in journalism. , Tand this gender disparity is evident in all aspects of this field but is especially strongly apparent in broadcast journalism. More specifically, broadcast Moreover, this gender disparity is strongly apparent in broadcast journalism. Additionally,Thus, it is essential that we examine journalism , especially broadcast journalism, as a gendered institution with its own cultural and historical gendered roles because . This essay with examine how the gender inequality in broadcast journalism further heightens sexism and gender stereotypes in overall society today. Moreover, this essay aims to address how the absence and underrepresentation of women in the newsroom impacts the ways in which femaleswomen’s issues are reported, in regard to both quality and quantity. EssentiallyInherently, broadcast journalism is inherently a gendered institution, where women are not represented in high status positions, and are continuously objectified, and misrepresented. Comment by Kristen A Hall: This needs to be cited. Comment by Kristen A Hall: This needs to be cited.

When women first entered the newsroom in the twentieth century, it has createdcaused continuous controversy that still persists today. Initially, women struggled to enter broadcast journalism due to sexist views that the news media was a field for just men;, oand only 13% of women were televised reporters, However, due to the sexist views that the news media was a field for men. duringIn the 1970’s, the number of women in broadcast journalism began to rise sincewhen news outlet executives realized the benefits of increasing viewership increased when there was a female co-anchor. Now, there is a greater representation of females in broadcast journalism., Aand according to the WMC report in 2014, women hold 41% of the jobs in broadcast journalism. This number is deceiving because since it suggests that women are starting to reach equality in this field. However, this is not the case as. mMany media news outlets still discriminate against women. Comment by Kristen A Hall: This needs cited and you also need to clarify what year this statistic is from. Comment by Kristen A Hall: Citations need to be included.

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Through the sexualization of female broadcast journalists and reports, it is evident that women in broadcast journalism are discriminated against. The broadcast journalism there seems to be a silent agreement that women must be young and physically attractive in order to have the job. Forty is considered too old to be a leading broadcast journalist, and aging can impact airtime, where younger women get significantly more airtime. Another standard that female broadcast journalist is held to that men aren’t is the wardrobe scrutiny they face. Female broadcast journalists are expected to wear clothes that accentuate the female body. As a result, female broadcast journalists are always facing criticism for dressing too prudent or too revealing. Society has a tendency to concentrate on their appearance and body, rather than their merit and the information they are conveying. This illustrates the objectification of women in the news media, since they are pressured to dress more sexually in order to lure in more viewers.

Gender norms continue to dominate the newsroom, and limit the success a female journalist has in broadcast. Women are excluded from management jobs at top news outlets. Moreover, women only represent twenty percent of the top executives, and only twelve percent of board of directors at the top news media companies. Essentially, this inequality of female representation suggest that many of these companies reflect the stereotypical views that society exerts today; they believe these false ideas that men and women execute different leadership skills, where women are more interpersonal, and collaborative, while men are more competitive and defensive. It is essential that society rejects these stereotypes because it permits women from holding high status positions, and it ignore their merit that deems them to be capable of holding a management position. It is evident that broadcast journalism continues to discriminate against women due to the sexualization of female journalists. Today there is a continuous stress on the appearance of a female broadcast journalist, that is not emphasize to their male colleagues.

Fair representation of female journalists in leading news outlets is a large issue that female broadcast journalists today. The underrepresentation of female journalist guests on the news illustrates how many major news companies still exercise gender bias. At leading media news outlets, ABC, CBS, and NBC men reported three times as much as women. The area that this underrepresentation is evident is in the Sunday morning news. The Sunday morning news consists of thirty to sixty minute discussion with invited guests, which mostly consists of politicians and journalists who are well informed on the topic being discussed. Sunday morning talk shows are an important source of news because they they are major part of public discussion, that allows people to participate and further understand certain topics, especially political issues. A study was conducted that recorded the demographic on five popular Sunday morning shows: ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos, CBS’s Face the Nation with John Dickerson, Fox’s Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace, NBC’s Meet the Press With Chuck Todd, and CNN’s State of the Union With Jake Tapper. This study concluded that men made up 71% of the elected officials, candidates, and journalists that were invited to participate in these segments.

These upsetting numbers reveal how many broadcast journalists are excluded in discussing important topics on popular news channels. In analyzing these troubling numbers, it is imperative to recognize that the producers, who are predominantly male, are the ones choosing these guests to participate on these segments. This illustrates how when there is no women in the higher and more prestigious jobs at these companies, there is most likely no one fighting for the representation of women to participate in these discussions. Moreover, it reveals that when there is predominately white men in power, it is likely that minority groups will not be represented. The underrepresentation of female politicians and journalists in these discussion suggest to the audience that the topics being discussed is a male dominated field where only male voices are her. This contributes to modern day stereotypes that politics is for men because women’s voices are not being heard in the discussion. This is troubling because many of these discussions are about women, and are being determined by men, for instance: healthcare. This demands for more female voices to be included.

In broadcast journalism, women are often relegated to report on soft news, while their male colleagues report on hard news. Soft news is centered around human interest. This includes topics on fashion, food, travel, health, entertainment, lifestyle, and children. On the other hand, hard news covers more important issues: international relations, politics, business, war, and the economy. Since hard news covers more serious and informative topics, it is considered more prestigious in journalism. Even in newsrooms where the number of female and male journalists are equal, hard news continues to be perceived as a male’s field. For example, women reported on 30% of the Iraq War. In addition, broadcast journalists reported on 32% of crime and justice, 34% of United States Politics, 37% of world politics, and 37% of the tech industry.1 While, 57% of lifestyle news and commentary, and 54% of

The lack of broadcast journalists that are assigned hard news, depicts how underlying gender notions impact the decision of what a reporter is assigned. The cultural notions of masculinity that included ideas of aggression, courage, and independence aligns with the themes of hard news, such as war, politics, and natural disaster. These stereotypical notions imply that men should cover these topics because these issues are related to themes of masculinity. In contrast, female broadcast journalists report on soft news, which corresponds to societal notions of femininity with themes of passiveness, dependence, and family. In addition, “soft news” serves to entertain the individual. This lies with the traditional gender stereotypes of females today that a woman’s serve to the individual in the private sphere. In contrast, the male broadcast journalist delivers “hard news,” which attends to the public’s interests. This is consistent with the stereotypical idea that man’s role is in the public sphere.

Moreover, the association of women with soft news, and men with hard news is problematic because it does not allow women to have access to prominent issues that receive a lot of media attention. The large number of women covering “soft news” and the large number of men reporting on “hard news” indicate that there is a contemporary gender hierarchy in broadcast journalism. This limits female journalists ability to cover prestigious issues, such as politics and international conflict. Therefore, women do not receive the same recognition that men do in this field, because they are not getting the opportunity to report on the most important issues or topics that are considered urgent news. This could be a factor in explaining why men have received 84% of the last century’s Pulitzer Prize, since women do not get the same opportunity in reporting on these crucial topics.

Another problem with the lack of representation of female covering hard news is that it causes women to be underrepresented as news sources. There has been a continuous trend where men as chosen as experts for a story over female sources. On average, male reporters have five and a half male sources for every one female source. This troubling number raises concern on how men are more likely to choose someone of the same gender. Since female sources are more likely to be included when the journalist is female, there is not a large representation of female sources in certain issues because of the lack of access that women have to covering hard news. The greater number of male sources gives men more dominance in hard news, since men report on “hard news” more often. This is concerning because the source exercises a large amount of power and influence in shaping the news. With issues like politics, the audience is only hearing a male’s perspective on the issue. This does not allow many news outlets to have a diverse perspective on certain issues, especially on issues concerning women. Broadcast news exerts a powerful influence on what voters know about politicians, and the modern politcal climate. With a lack of female broadcast journalists cover these news, they have less opportunities to impact the viewer’s opinion on politics.

Additionally, the lack of representation of females who are covering hard news, and the absence of female sources further suggests historical gender roles that determine politics to be a man’s domain. Often, society is unable to recognize that the gender biases in the workplace limit a female broadcast journalist’s ability to work in certain areas. Instead, there is not a substantial amount of women covering hard news or turned to as sources, society perceives this that women are not knowledgeable in the field. The lack of women in certain news areas, like politics, is troubling because it suggests that women are not well informed in this area. This gives the false impression that men are more intelligent than women in more important areas. A larger inclusion of women reporters on topics like politics would likely influence society’s view on the role of women in politics. It would demonstrate how women are important and influential in areas of “hard news,” and that their gender does not determine how informed they are on the topic.

When women challenge patriarchal values, and report on war news, they are largely criticized for it. Although there is a small presence of female journalists present at war torn areas, this side of journalism is almost completely reserved for me. Female journalists are criticized for risking their lives when they reporting these areas, while male journalists are praised. Moreover, women reporting in war zones are usually childless. However, if they do have children they are demonized for their decision for war reporting. However, this is not the same case for men. Men are never judged based on their family situation is, while women are perceived as selfish if they do have a family. This shows how society views a female’s role to be at home raising her family, while her husband can provide for the family. Moreover, war is associated with aggression and courage, and society only perceives men to have these traits.

Overall, the goal of this paper was to illustrate how the news media is a sexist institution that reinforces traditional gender news. The treatment of female journalists illustrates how women and men in this field do not have the same opportunities, and the success of a female is often limited. This is concerning because the news exerts a large influence, and has the ability to bend the opinions of the American public. Moreover, people often look at the news to be objective, so when they are reinforcing these gender stereotypes, it can come across as a norm. It is crucial that women can to the same access to stories as men, because we need diverse opinions, especially the opinion of women. Moreover, when there are more female broadcast journalists reporting on “hard news,” it is more likely that they will draw more attention to females.

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Gender Inequality in Broadcast Journalism. (2021, Feb 19). Retrieved from