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Where are all the women?

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As funding for NUJ Scotland’s Stronger Voice for Women in the Media project comes to an end, it’s important to recognise the many achievements of women journalists in Scotland, but there’s still much work to be done – by Fiona Davidson, women’s project worker.

Women are still outnumbered by men in the media – especially in senior editorial roles – but women are making their mark and being heard, more so than ever.

While there are still few women at the top, Mandy Rhodes is the editor of the leading Scottish political Holyrood Magazine, Catriona MacInnes is acting editor of the Dundee Courier, Suzanne Lord is deputy head of news at STV, Jackie Newton is editor of Reporting Scotland, Shelley Jofre is editor of BBC Scotland Investigations and Nicole Kleeman is managing director of leading independent production company Firecrest Films, to name a few.

Women journalists are making their mark in the workplace too with more MoCs (mothers of the chapel) and equality reps ensuring women’s voices are heard.  Within the National Union of Journalists we have increased representation of women on the Scottish Executive Council and union/black activist Layla-Roxanne Hill will be the first woman to represent Scotland on the NUJ’s National Executive Council for several years when she takes up her role later this month.

So women in the media in Scotland certainly have a stronger voice, and the launch of Women in Journalism Scotland just over a year ago can take much of the credit for that.  In fact it was the launch of WIJ Scotland that inspired NUJ Scotland’s Stronger Voice for Women in the Media project, funded by the STUC via the Government’s Trade Union, Fair Work and Modernisation Fund.

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There was lots of banter at the Stronger Voice for Women in the Media’s equality quiz night, compered by Scottish organiser Dominic Bascombe.

All images copyright Elaine Livingstone Photography @elainelivphoto

But there was also a very serious message conveyed by both speakers, Layla-Roxanne Hill and Anna Burnside, that there’s still a lot to be done to improve the representation of women in the media. Continue reading


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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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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@ nuj.org.uk 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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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


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STUC women back NUJ campaign to stop media sexism

Delegates at the STUC women’s conference unanimously backed an NUJ motion to improve representation of women in the press and stop media sexism.

The motion calls on women and trade unionists to fight back and call out examples of poor treatment of women by the media and to press for responsible reporting standards demonstrating respect for women, eliminating objectification and sexualisation and focusing on their ideas, abilities and achievements rather than their appearance, personal life and how they dress.

The conference was held in Glenrothes, Fife from 30 to 31 October 2017.  Freelance journalist Claire Sawers of Edinburgh freelance branch moved the motion on behalf of the NUJ.

She said “We at the NUJ share the same frustrations as our sisters here. We find ourselves back, once again, talking about the various ways that our colleagues in the media continue to misrepresent women. Each of you will have examples, sometimes very recent ones, of ways that women are sexualised, blamed, humiliated and discriminated against.

“The problem doesn’t only apply to women being reported on in the media. It affects women employed in the media too. Continue reading