Women In Media Should Help New Entrants Break Through The Glass Ceiling

Women In Media Should Help New Entrants Break Through The Glass Ceiling

Women in media should help new entrants to break through “the glass ceiling,” say South African award-winning journalists and editors.

One media executve also argues that the ability to read critically is the major skill that will help girls break through these barriers.

Speaking at the fifth annual Vodacom Women in The Media Awards 2007, Vodacom chief communications officer Dot Field said too few women were in a position of power in the newsroom (globally). Media coverage also tended to favour men, she said.

Fields cited an international study which found that women account for 17% of all media coverage whether print or electronic. This includes stories about women, on womenor where women were used as sources, she said. The majority of the coverage on women is celebrity and royalty-related, she said.

Joyce Sikhakhane, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award said things like balancing the responsibilities of home, family, and child rearing still hinder women’s advancement in newsrooms. The long hours and late nights required to get ahead in these careers also do not help, she said.

Field said successful journalists, editors, media advocates have a responsibility to help break barriers in the media industry so new entrants have a better chance of success.

A key strategy to develop women capable of breaking through the glass ceiling is to ensure that young girls at school learn to read critically, said Patricia Scholtemeyer, CEO of Media24 Magazines and winner of the 2007 Vodacom Women in The Media Award.

“Reading critically is an important contributor to people’s ability to think for themselves,” she said.

Read about Damaria Senne’s adventures as a parent, children’s book writer and reading advocate on her blog at http://damariasenne.blogspot.com

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