Women in media face a big pay gap, high workloads and lack of career progress

Women in media face a big pay gap, high workloads and lack of career progress

women in media

More than one in two women working in the media in Australia think the industry has a weak commitment to gender equality, while pay imbalances, heavy workloads and a lack of career progression are top concerns.

The inaugural Women in Media Industry Insight Report 2022, released on Monday, also shows that more than half of women working in media were dissatisfied or unsure about how to advance their careers.

The report, published by not-for-profit organisation Women in Media, highlights pay as a significant issue for women in the sector, where there is an above average weekly earnings gap for women of 16 per cent, well above the national gender pay gap which sits at 13.8 per cent. Pay was rated by those surveyed as the main driver to leave their jobs.

The significant gender pay gap in media exists even though the majority of graduates in journalism, marketing and communication degrees are women.

In the report, nearly one third of women who said they were dissatisfied with the rate of their career progression indicated this was due to a lack of opportunities. Caregiving responsibilities was the second most cited reason.

“If our industry – which reports regularly on issues such as gender equality – cannot step up, we can hardly criticise other sectors for the same discrimination,” said Victoria Laurie, Women in Media Patron and National Board member.

“The majority of graduates starting out their careers in the media are women, yet their numbers drop off dramatically as their careers progress and by the time they reach senior ranks, men vastly outnumber women.

“According to the Women in Media Industry Insight Report 2022 the problem lies in an inherent lack of transparency and commitment to gender equality in the industry.”

Structural gender discrimination and entrenched workplace cultures in media have also seen women relegated to lower paid, and less powerful roles.

Eighty-four per cent of the women surveyed want media organisations and employers to implement gender pay audits, to help address the gender pay gap in the sector.

“The Report is a litmus test of fairness in an industry that society would expect is prioritising gender equality. However, the majority of our members say pay is an issue, and career advancement is problematic,” Laurie said.

“Our members feel overwhelmingly dissatisfied with their current career prospects.”

Forty-one per cent of women also said they would like “shadowing programs” to provide women with better access to leaders, while 40 per cent indicated “micro-learning” in digital skills would be helpful for their career progression.

Women in Media is now calling on the media industry to make some overarching changes to help address the barriers women face at work, starting with a commitment to address gender equality and pay transparency.

Better pathways to promotion, support from leadership and management, and access to upskilling are also recommended to support women working in media.

Image: Women in Media Patron and National Board member, Victoria Laurie.


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