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NUJ takes campaigning priorities to STUC

NUJ Scotland delegates to the 2018 Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) in Aviemore have led the charge for increased representation of women.

The delegation comprised of Liz Ely, Simon Barrow, Jim Symonds and Scotland organiser Dominic Bascombe.

The NUJ motion challenging the representation of women in the media won support from all of the unions present at Congress, with many delegates queuing to speak during the debate.

The motion recognised the power of the media to affect the way that underrepresented groups see themselves and how consumers of media view them. It called for a joint and cohesive approach to tackle negative portrayal and messages.

Liz Ely, NUJ delegate, said:

“I have lost count of how many times I have heard groups of men on the radio discussing the gender pay gap, or the ‘me too’ movement. Whenever we have a platform we represent ourselves and affect how others see us. In the trade union movement and across the media we’re working to change how women and all oppressed groups are represented.”

Diljeet Bhachu, a musician and delegate of the Musicians’ Union, called attention to the issue of visibility. She said:

“Visibility has the power to raise aspiration, and encourage real inclusivity and equality. But to have some visibility is not enough. Tokenism is also damaging. Under-represented people are diverse, and representation needs to reflect this plurality too. People are more than their labels.”

The NUJ delegation also put forward a motion addressing the shameful strategy of media companies to increase the use of user generated content to the detriment of professional journalists. The approach to replace paid for, professional content affects the incomes of staff and freelance journalists.

A third NUJ motion calling on the STUC to explore different models of ownership considered the introduction of the cooperative model approach for some newspapers.

This comes on the heels of work by NUJ Scotland about cooperative ownership models for local newspapers that have been threatened with closure or severe editorial cuts.

Women are on the rise in the trade union movement in Scotland, newly elected STUC president Lynn Henderson said on the final day of the Scottish Trades Union Congress.

Henderson, who is Scottish secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, has called on men in the union movement to ‘Step Aside, Brother’. ‘Step Aside, Brother’ is an initiative seeking experienced male union reps to mentor women to take up union positions. Henderson paid tribute to her male counterparts in the movement who have done so, in order that more spaces and positions can be filled with female representatives.

She said:

“Every day employers are all ‘discovering’ embedded sexism and sexual harassment in the workplace. Our movement will be in the strongest possible position to continue to challenge this when women are leading.”

“We are serious about strengthening the power of workers. Our structures are adapting to reflect the society we wish for. Step Aside, Brother is about accelerating that change.”

Henderson’s remarks came as an upsurge of women-led campaigns has set the trade union agenda in the public and private sectors.

The theme of Glasgow may day will be the centenary of the extension of votes to some women, and the suffragette movement that secured this.


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It’s Just Banter – An event by the Stronger Voice for Women in the Media project with equality-theme quiz on music, movies & facts

It’s Just Banter is an evening of fun with a serious message.* There’s a quiz on equality issues, music and movies, along with some exciting speakers.

It’s being organised as part of NUJ Scotland’s Stronger Voice for Women in the Media project to improve the representation of women in the media and by the media and to end media sexism.

Questions about voice, opportunity, security, fulfillment and respect – the five key principles of the Fair Work Framework, will figure largely – so start thinking about songs that represent these themes. Respect is an easy one to start with.

There’s also wine, and food. And it’s free!

It’s downstairs at Rhoderick Dhu’s, 21 Waterloo Street (near Central Station), Glasgow G2 6BZ from 6.30 for a 7pm start on Wednesday 21 March.  Sign up via Eventbrite here.

*What some see as banter, others see as sexual abuse or harassment.

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Brand Me – Confidence-building course for women in the media

The working life of a woman in the media can be precarious.  Many are on zero hours contracts, casual workers, freelance, part-time or on fixed term contracts.  So they have to continuously sell themselves and their skills, to get work, to survive.

Work is often allocated on a “who you know” basis, in other words “jobs for the boys” who meet up on the golf course, the football terraces or the pub.  Macho environments still prevail in some newsrooms and women’s voices are drowned out as the men are louder.

Additionally, women are known for not blowing their own trumpet enough.  They tend to undersell themselves, seeing the negatives rather than the positives.

That’s why they need help to up their game in the confidence stakes from someone who knows the industry from the inside. Continue reading

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Scotland media diversity

NUJ Scotland is looking for people of colour in Scotland that are actively creating media content. You could be a blogger, vlogger, broad/podcaster or citizen journalist. If you are involved in media, we’d like to hear from you to discuss an exciting project.

Please email: dominicb@ or call 0141 248 6648


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Making headlines – why language matters when reporting violence against women – by Kirsty Strickland

Journalist Kirsty Strickland (@kirstystricklan) writes for NUJ Scotland about the importance of use of language in news headlines to raise awareness of violence against women and dispel common myths and misconceptions as part of the Stronger Voice for Women in the Media project.

In the aftermath of the harassment scandal sparked by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein a movement emerged which dominated the news agenda for the latter part of 2017.

One of the most powerful and influential elements of this news coverage was the clear link made between men abusing power and wider structural inequality. Inevitably, what followed was a predictable and misogynistic suggestion that women who spoke out may be lying or maliciously over-reacting to their experiences to gain fame or money. Broadly speaking though, the power dynamic of the individuals involved (and the imbalance between them) was discussed and analysed meaningfully across various media platforms.

For women, this wasn’t new information. We understand that violence against women is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality. But for media outlets to make this connection and dedicate time to discussing it properly was something new and refreshing.

It’s important to acknowledge though, that had the initial story not focused on the conduct of famous men it’s unlikely that the women speaking out about harassment and sexual abuse would have been given such a receptive audience. Continue reading

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Writing to end violence against women

NUJ Scotland was proud to support Zero Tolerance’s Write to End Violence Against Women awards for the fifth year running. The awards were held on 7 December at the Scottish Parliament.

Zero Tolerance has also launched guidelines on reporting domestic abuse in advance of new legislation to tackle the problem of violence against women.

The new laws, once implemented, will mean that police will be able to act where there is a course of abusive behaviour, whether it is physical, mental or psychological, and it will include coercive control.

NUJ Scotland assisted with the guidelines and material from a post on our webpage by journalist Dani Garavelli – Time to end clumsy coverage of violence against women – was quoted in the guidelines.

Continue reading

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Freedom of Information, Factchecking & Feminism Workshop

A women-only workshop on freedom of information, fact-checking and feminism is being held by NUJ Scotland in partnership with The Ferret and Women in Journalism Scotland to equip more women to submit FOI requests and carry out factchecks. Continue reading