Women in Canada's news industry still face glass ceiling: study

March 25, 2011, University of British Columbia

Canadian women journalists hit the glass ceiling in senior management despite making gains that reach or exceed parity at most other levels, according to a new International Women’s Media Foundation global report.

The Canadian portion of the survey – led by Assoc. Prof. Mary Lynn Young, Director of UBC’s Graduate School of Journalism, and Prof. Alison Beale, Director of SFU’s School of Communication – finds that are “under-represented” in key roles in media governance and senior management.

Women accounted for nearly 40 per cent of top-level management and one quarter (26 per cent) 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 per cent of executive editors, bureau chiefs and news directors in Canada were women, 50 per cent of middle managers and 54.8 per cent of the producers, writers and directors.

Despite the glass ceiling, Canada fared well for female representation in the news industry among the 59 nations surveyed. Globally, according to the IWMF, women represent only one third 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 also hold the majority (nearly two-thirds) of support roles, including sales, account management and secretarial positions.

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 per cent) 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.

Explore further: Women and visible minorities less likely to be promoted than white men, says study

More information: View the study at: www.iwmf.org/

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not rated yet Mar 25, 2011
I wonder if part of this 'glass celling' stems from what occurs at the ground floor.

If there is still a bias against women who are not 'beautiful enough' to present on television, a bias that is likely stronger against women than against men, then a number of women who would be capable of advancing to the top never get a chance to start.

I'm not saying that being physically appealing enough to pass whatever bias may exist means that one cannot also be an excellent newscaster, but if the pool is cut drastically at the bottom floor, it'll be cut at the top floor.

Are the women that get the jobs at the bottom floor selected for their journalistic talents, or are they selected for their 'camera friendliness' with journalistic abilities merely a bonus.

I've seen many a beautiful woman paired with a rather homely man. I see very few women in newscaster roles that aren't among the top 10% of what society would call beautiful. I bet the other 90% has some great newscasters.
not rated yet Mar 25, 2011
agreed, women are pre-selected/appreciated for bringing looks to the camera, its a gift and a curse
not rated yet Mar 26, 2011
Glass floors are better, especially with women around.

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