Seven out of 10 reporters are aware of discrimination towards women journalists, finds poll

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31st March 2021 10:21 - Media and PR

Seven out of 10 reporters are aware of discrimination towards female journalists: A global survey of journalists has found that more than 7 out of 10 (71%) are aware of discrimination towards female reporters, with online channels the place where it occurs most frequently, according to the poll.

The survey, titled Sexism's Toll on Journalism was conducted by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an organisation which "works for journalistic freedom, independence and pluralism" the world over. It polled 112 of its journalists around the globe (57% male and 43% women) who specialise in writing about gender issues, about the trends they are seeing. 

Polling was conducted across Europe (27%), Asia (27%), Africa (25%). Americas (16%) and Oceania (5%), with 40 of the countries where journalists were polled  identified as being 'dangerous' or 'very dangerous' for women.

Of the 71% of respondents who said they were aware of discrimination towards women, with nearly three-quarters (73%) said that they have seen most of this discrimination/sexism take place online (emails, social media messages).

Almost six in 10 said that discrimination happens in the newsroom (58%) while 47% said it happens on the phone. More than a third (36%) said it happens in the street, while others said it happens by letter (15%) or physically at home (13%).

The research asked respondents about the consequences of gender-based violence, with stress being the most common response, cited by more than three-quarters of journalists (79%). Nearly two-thirds said anxiety (65%), while more than half said fear of losing their job (54%). Half the respondents polled said loss of self-esteem is a common consequence of sexism and violence (50%), while marginally less (49%) said the fear of being killed. More than two-fifths (43%) said sexism leads to closure of social media accounts, while more than a third said depression was a consequence (36%).

When asked about the professional consequences of discrimination and sexism, the survey found that nearly half female journalists (48%) engaged in self-censorship, while nearly two-fifths (38%) said it causes women to lose the motivation to work. A fifth of respondents (22%) said female journalists feel they have to shut down their social media accounts or turn their back on professional networks.

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