When it comes to gender equality, EIGE’s study shows that radio is not yet a fully gender-equal environment. The radio plays out-of-tune when it comes to the representation of women at decision-making level. There are only 34 % of women among the top level decision-makers in the 10 radio stations that were included in EIGE’s study. Only 16% of the women working there operate at CEO level and the organisational culture remains largely masculine. The struggle is nevertheless worthwhile: ‘Increased number of women in the decision-making structures of media organisations would bring social justice, better use of talents and innovative decisions. It would also improve media content’ - says Virginija Langbakk, Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE).
Women journalists have in the past suffered from a lack of credibility and equal access to radio jobs. When in 1938 the first female news reporter was introduced on the Swedish radio ‘angry radio listeners nearly choked on their morning coffee’. Since then, things have improved and women radio journalists have been catching up with men. In its report Advancing gender equality in decision-making in media organisations EIGE discovers that women nowadays represent on average almost half of the employees of the programming and broadcasting activities, reaching up to 44%. EIGE’s report also reveals that women in the broadcasting sector have considerably outnumbered men when it comes to university-level education (68% of women have a higher degree).
In 1995, the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) identified two core areas where action by state governments and the media industry was needed: women have limited access to decision-making in media organisations and the stereotypical portrayal of women in the media. Developing EU-level policies to improve gender equality in media has until now been hampered by the fact that it is nested at the crossroads of several areas of gender equality policy-making (gender equality promotion, media policy, gender mainstreaming, women in decision-making) and the essential need for media to be granted the right of freedom of expression.
Based on EIGE’s report, the Council of the European Union has made conclusions on ‘Advancing Women’s Roles as Decision-Makers in the Media’. In line with the findings the Council calls on the Member States and the European Commission to take active measures to foster gender equality at all levels, including women’s advancement in decision-making roles in the media industry. The Council also calls for enhancing awareness of gender equality within the media sector and the exchange of good practices between Member States in this area that will support the process of achieving a gender-equal society.
In 2012-2013, EIGE also conducted the study ‘Collection of methods, tools and good practices in the field of Women and the Media’. The study led to the development of a database of methods and tools on EIGE’s website and a list of good practices.
It revealed the development and implementation of processes of gender training, awareness-raising on gender equality issues and self-regulation and promotion in many Member States and within the media industry.
EIGE's work on women and media
What about gender equality in the media? Interviews with women experts