Women's safety is still one of the major issues in India. Everyone talks about it but no one cares to take a step regarding it. All the working sectors including the ‘supposedly safe’ places like educational sectors where women and girls must be safe have become the places where they are unsafe, keeping any other field or sector of work aside, let us talk about the position and situation of women in media and journalism only. The media is expected to serve both men and women equally and be transparent for women as well. But does the media treat men and women equally?
Well, if you ask me like any other sector media is no less when it comes to women working in it. Here there are a lot of things to talk about like threats that women journalists receive, online harassment of women journalist data, under-representation of women, gender inequality in the media workforce.
Starting with threats it is quite obvious that people feel that women are easy targets and mainly the ones who work in the field of media, women working in a newsroom or working in the field while reporting face risks of physical assaults, rape, sexual harassment, and even murder and also they face this inhuman treatment not only from those who want to silence them and stop them for reporting against them but also by their colleagues, clients, sources, etc. between 2012 to 2016 UNESCO's Director-General denounced the killing of 38 women journalists, representing 7 percent of all journalists killed. The percentage of journalists killed who are women is significantly lower than their overall representation in the media workforce. This large gender gap is likely partly the result of the persistent under-representation of women reporting from war zones or insurgencies or on topics such as politics and crime.
Well, this was about the physical assault at the workplace, if we talk about the internet and social media as well the situation is worse there as according to mapping media freedom survey- (May 2014 and September 2018) states that almost 176 reported were reported of online harassment of correspondents once a week.
63% said these attacks caused psychological effects such as anxiety or stress. 38% admitted to self-censorship and 8% lost their job.
In a Joint survey conducted by UNESCO and ICJ (September 2020 to November 2020 global survey by 1,210 international media workers). 73% percent of female respondents said that they had experienced online abuse, harassment, threats, and attacks.
20% percent of the women reported being targeted with offline abuse and attacks that they believe were connected with online violence they had experienced.
In India, a DW reporter Manira Chaudhary who has been working as a journalist for six years and as a correspondent for DW's Delhi studio for the past year has faced online abuse for expressing her views.
When asked about the online harassment and abuse she faced she told- "I have often been at the receiving end of incessant online trolling from people who disagreed with me on my reports. And I have still had it easier than many other women journalists who face a barrage of online abuse on a daily basis. Many of them face death threats and explicit rape threats on social media for just sharing their opinions. And the attacks are not just confined to the online world. There have been reports of women journalists getting physically attacked and sexually harassed while out reporting. There have been times when I have censored my thoughts and opinions on fear of being trolled and many women journalists do the same” she also added.
In 2017, two women journalists were murdered for their work within a gap of six weeks named Daphne Caruana Galizia (Maltese investigative journalist) and known Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh both faced gendered online attacks and abuse before they were murdered.
But how can we expect gender inequality in the media workforce? Well, it is quite common here as well. Women are still not considered strong enough for cases related to Crime and are pushed and compelled to work in the areas of entertainment beat. But there are exceptions as well like Asia and Latin America where women are motivated to work in the field of crime and politics. After all these stats and figure what I found out is that we are still biased against women, or it is just that our patriarchal and misogynist society can't take women in media as well. Most of the men still have that problem of 'EGO' sitting at supreme authority and not allowing women in media also to work equally.
While the Indian women journalists like Barkha Dutt, Faye D' Souza, Sucheta Dalal sets a perfect example of fearless and transparent journalism but we cannot ignore the fact as well that in a study conducted by Media Rumble in Collaboration with UN women (2019), it came out that the major positions were taken by women journalists in mainstream newspapers like Economic Times, The Hindu, etc. and that is positive side but in 2019 when it came to article publishing only 20 percent of the 3000 articles in English dailies were written by women. This gap was wider in Hindi newspapers. Of the 6,806 articles surveyed, only 11 percent were authored by women.
In Television News it was found out that female anchors constitute only 20% rest all of them were male, the study also shows that female journalists are more encouraged to work in the beats like lifestyle, Fashion and just leaving beats like sports, economy for men.
My dear readers and the people who work in media at any position or in any field I just want to say that try not to be biased against any gender in the media especially when there is still an acute shortage of honest journalists, no journalist should be dismissed on the basis of his/her gender maybe that person can bring a change in society.
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