The perils of women in journalism


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Even Earth Woman sees her share of chauvinism. - SHUTTERSTOCK
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  • Even Earth Woman sees her share of chauvinism.
Ah sexism, what an adaptable beast it is.

No matter where you go, or what sector you work in, there are ways for people to make women uncomfortable, and that of course includes the realm of journalism — home to plenty of feisty, formidable women. Enter Journalism While Female — a new Tumblr blog from Women, Action & the Media, a gender equality group — that shares "accounts of everyday sexism." 

The blog is yet only two days old, but there are already a handful of stories, some more gross than others and all of them pretty disappointing. One woman's tale starts with an editor she was working with commenting on her clothing — “Nice outfit today. But wearing a nice outfit doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to get away without fixing that transition ...” — before getting to the task at hand: Editing her story about heroin abuse.

Another recounts a male classmate telling his female counterpart that she was "too sensitive to be a journalist." According to her, she went on to work for a national investigative magazine and he became a shaman and then a massage therapist.

So I decided to ask some of the other women in the newsroom today what their experiences have been. One had a story off the record, but another tells me:
After I had been working at my first reporting job for about a year, a man was hired to do the same job I was doing for $50 more a week than I was paid, which I found out accidentally.

Other than that, I can't really point to any time I felt discriminated against for being female ... I never saw myself as less than any male journalist and don't feel like I was treated differently, but maybe I just wasn't paying attention to that.
As for myself (I am female, which comes as a surprise to folks expecting an Eddie) my experience has been pretty much positive. I've been in the business only about six years, but any kind of sexism I've encountered has come after-hours.

(Digression: Why do men think being insulting is a successful come-on?)

Which brings me to the moral of the post: Don't be an asshole.


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