Women in journalism and the age-old gender issue

Patricia O’Brien (nee Newton), the first
woman reporter in the parliamentary press
gallery working for the Press Association.
Today is a very special day for many Eastern European people – it is known as Women’s day, a time for celebrating women and acknowledging their merits and achievements in every area of society, from domestic goddesses to thriving professionals. While trying to find an interesting e-card to send to my mom, in Romania, I stumbled upon this article. It focuses on the fact that although the number of female students studying for Journalism degrees exceeds that of male students, the industry is still dominated by men. Reports suggest that over 74% of news journalists on the nationals are men. What I am about to say will perhaps not be in tone with the symbolism of the day – so the faint hearted might want to look away.

Although I can appreciate the importance of studies such as the one conducted by Women in Journalism, my view is that the days of hardcore feminism are long gone. Just as multiculturalism has revealed its limitations as the guiding philosophy for the XXI century, hiding behind gender differences and discrimination is no longer a valid argument. I strongly believe in meritocracy and one’s experience and skills as basis for a successful career, irrespective of gender. In the case of traditionally male-dominated sectors (journalism included) the only caveat is that one needs to possess some rather ‘manly’ attributes – confidence and ambition, matched by an equal dose of aggressiveness. What great lady journalists (Oriana Fallaci, Katharine Graham, Diane Sawyer) have taught us is that one has to be a little bully-ish and hard headed at times in order to get that original piece or interview. Perhaps this is what makes the difference between the very few women journalists making a name for themselves in the industry, and the ones that chose to pursue a different career after graduating from their Journalism courses?

News journalism, the same as technical PR, is a tough business and only the very dedicated succeed. Do I believe that women should be encouraged to pursue careers in journalism? Of course I do. Yet perhaps before that, we should teach them the importance of being focused, independent and to never consider themselves less capable or less skilled. It is this kind of confidence, this energy coming from within, that will change the stats and raise the numbers of empowered women, succeeding in top roles.
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Oana Baetica - Technical PR consultant

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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