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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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NUJ Scotland welcomes Engender’s Gender Matters Roadmap and call for end to sexism in the media #ScotFemFuture #NUJ

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’. Continue reading


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Glass ceilings and concrete walls – challenges facing black/ethnic minority women in Scotland’s media industry

Jamilah A Hassan, journalist, blogger and member of the Yon Afro Collective, writes about possible solutions to the problems facing black and ethnic minority women trying to break into the media industry as part of the Stronger Voice for Women in the Media project.  The Yon Afro Collective (@YonAfro) exists to enhance representation, improve visibility and provide support to women of colour in Scotland.

 Many women hit the glass ceiling when it comes to career progression, but for black and ethnic minority women we have to smash our way through the concrete walls to even get into the structure.  Then there’s a higher chance we’ll get stuck on the sticky floors. Continue reading


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‘Light-hearted’ political coverage of women shouldn’t be an excuse for sexism

Journalist and researcher Fiona McKay was invited to write an article on the media’s representation of women in politics as part of NUJ Scotland’s Stronger Voice for Women in the Media project.  She will be speaking at the project event next Wednesday April 19 (6-9pm).  She writes mainly for the Herald and Times Group and is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Strathclyde, looking at gendered media representations in Scottish politics.  The aim of the Stronger Voice project is to improve representation of women working in the media and how women are represented by the media.

“Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it!” said the Daily Mail’s staggeringly sexist front page, unabashedly splashing Theresa May’s and Nicola Sturgeon’s pins as the focal point in their coverage of talks about Brexit and a second Scottish referendum.

While there was a large degree of national outrage and media criticism (and rightly so), there was also an audible sigh and collective eye roll; surely as a nation, we should have moved on from this kind of gendered commentary, particularly around two of the UK’s top leaders?

As the Daily Mail later clarified in its second edition, this was supposed to be “light-hearted” take on the negotiations. Left-wing detractors were accused of lacking a sense of humour and “proportion”. Continue reading


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News Blackout – Why Aren’t Black British Women Treated Fairly In the Media?

Layla-Roxanne Hill was invited by NUJ Scotland to write an article about women and the media as part of the Stronger Voice for Women in the Media project.  The aim of the project is to improve representation of women working in the media and how women are represented by the media.

She is a campaigner, writer and speaker with a focus on race, gender and the Black Scottish experience.  In addition, she sits on the STUC Black Workers’ Committee, the National Union of Journalists’ Black Members’ Council and Scottish Executive Council as Black Members’ Representative. She is also a co-founder of  @YonAfro, a collective of women of colour aiming to enhance representation, improve visibility and provide support of women of colour in Scotland.

 

Despite the work seemingly being done to address the (mis)representation of Black British women, we are still being treated unfairly throughout the media landscape. Our stories, experiences and issues are continuously being told through a white lens which often fails to provide an accurate representation, or lend its focus to race. Continue reading


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A Stronger Voice for Women in the Media

A Stronger Voice for Women in the Media

It’s almost 50 years since equality laws were introduced and yet women are still fighting to be heard in the newsroom and in the news.

Women in senior editorial roles are very much in the minority.  Diversity in the newsroom is sadly lacking.  And this reflects in the news agenda, determined by men – often, white middle-aged men (although we shouldn’t use stereotypes).

Women are still judged on appearance and as they get older, they are often unseen and unheard.  The invisible woman is a common complaint, both in terms of recognition of their years of experience and their achievements as a journalist. Continue reading