NUJ Scotland welcomes Engender’s Gender Matters Roadmap for Scotland and its work tackling the impact of sexism on all women regardless of ability, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or background.
“The media has an important role to play in shaping public attitudes and is hugely influential in maintaining stereotypical views about women,” said Fiona Davidson, women’s project worker, with NUJ Scotland, a project to improve the representation of women working in the media and how women are portrayed by the media.
“The public’s stereotypical attitudes about gender roles are often perpetuated and reinforced by the media. This is particularly blatant when it comes to reporting violence against women and the prevalence of ‘victim blaming’.
“While there are many talented women working in the Scottish media, it is extremely concerning that they are still so scarce in senior decision-making roles, allowing the news agenda to continue to be dictated from a male perspective. Headlines such as “Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it” spring to mind as one of far too many examples of the sexist, offensive, demeaning and degrading ways women are reported in the media in this day and age.
“It is also a sad indictment of the media that many women in the industry are still fighting for equal pay. It is vital that women achieve equality in terms of pay, conditions, status and seniority and that women being reported are recognised in terms of their abilities and their achievements rather than their looks and family status. We are working with other organisations, including Women in Journalism Scotland, to improve the representation of women in the media and to offer training to end sexism and sexist attitudes in the media.”
The NUJ’s women’s project is funded by the Scottish Government’s Trade Union, Fair Work and Modernisation Fund, allocated by the STUC.
Paul Holleran, Scottish organiser, added “We are involved in various negotiations with employers across Scotland about pay, terms and conditions. There is a different approach or view required when we look closely at how these things impact on women journalists. There are issues affecting women directly and indirectly. This includes shift and rota patterns which can be debilitating, impractical and sometimes totally impossible, particularly for women as carers or with family responsibilities to the extent that many are forced out of the industry.
“Equal pay is a real concern and something the union are tackling through the introduction of new salary structures at Trinity and Johnston Press and hopefully the BBC eventually.
“As newsrooms undergo restructuring the question of career development and promotion of women into available senior positions is another hot potato across the industry and the union officials are on constant alert as changes are introduced. Precarious working is another major issue.
“We look forward to the day that true gender equality is achieved in Scotland.”