Canadian women journalists hit the glass ceiling in senior management despite making gains that reached parity or exceeded it at most other levels, according to a global report of women in news released by the International Women’s Media Foundation on Wednesday, March 23.
The Canadian survey, which was led by Mary Lynn Young, associate professor and director of the University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and Alison Beale, professor and director of the Simon Fraser University School of Communication, found that women were “under-represented” in key roles in governance and senior management.
Women accounted for nearly 40% of top-level management and one quarter (26%) of governance roles. They were also likely to be underpaid when they reached senior management with men making significantly more money.
“These results are disappointing but not surprising,” said Young. “The good news is that women are making significant progress at most of the other levels.”
Women overall have hit parity with men in terms of numbers up to the glass ceiling. For example, 55% of executive editors, bureau chiefs and news directors in Canada were women, 50% of middle managers and 54.8% of the producers, writers and directors.
These results position Canada overall as one of the 59 nations in the global study that stands out as making greater strides for women. Globally, according to the IWMF, women represent only a third (33%) of full-time workers in journalism at 522 companies surveyed.
Areas that still need attention in Canada are the production and technical arenas, which were “strongly male dominated.” Women were also the majority (nearly two-thirds) of those in support roles, e.g., sales, account management, secretarial.
The Canadian part of the study examined women in news at 11 companies and media institutions in 2009 including five newspapers, three television stations, and three radio stations. It was part of a two-year international study on the status of women in news, providing data on approximately 14,000 employees, including 7,538 men and 6,262 women in Canada. All of the companies surveyed were provided anonymity.
In terms of policy, more than half of the Canadian institutions surveyed (55%) had a policy on gender equity and less than one in five offered childcare assistance.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. was one of a six media institutions globally identified as having a strong record of gender equity in its region.
The study’s sponsor was the International Media Women’s Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Contact: Mary Lynn Young,
Associate Professor and Director, UBC Graduate School of Journalism
mlyoung AT interchange.ubc.ca