What Does Sexism in the Media Look Like Today?
Another International Women's Day, another hashtag launched that we wish didn’t have to exist – #EachforEqual being this year’s theme. So when it comes to gender-equality in the media, just how far have we come? Over to NCS grad Holly.
The media is huge and it consists of everything from newspapers to blogs. Sexism has been a big issue in the media in the past and still is, even today. Sometimes it goes unnoticed, but it’s time to make a change and put a stop to it – for all genders.
Instead of sitting back and allowing companies to underpay and discriminate against their employees, people as a whole need to elevate the point that sexism should not be tolerated by anyone in our society. It’s time for us to speak out and make positive progress to abolish sexism in the media. After all, we are the future of our country and the future of the media industry.
One major issue that sparked controversy over the last few years was the BBC’s gender pay gap – released in 2017. It revealed that only one third of their ninety-six ‘top earners’ were women. Theresa May, the Prime Minister at the time, stated that both men and women should be paid the same for doing the same work, and that there should not be a gap just because one is a woman.
Not only did she criticise this sexist regime, but many high-profiled women took this as a chance to write a letter to Tony Hall, BBC’s general director, urging immediate action to be taken and for the gender pay gap to come to an end. He wrote back insisting that by 2020 there would be an end to the sexist gender pay gap.
As we are currently in 2020, it is awful to have come across yet another situation where a BBC female employee is being paid less than her male colleague. BBC News reporter, Samira Ahmed, has recently (January of this year) been paid a massive, eighty-five percent less than the man she was working alongside, despite Hall’s promise – which should not be overlooked.
In today’s world, the gender pay gap should be unheard of; not only in media but in all fields of work. This is one vital way the media highlight sexism in the industry. This is almost a regression, as the media falls back into unkept promises, which can keep potential future journalists reluctant to join the industry.
Sexism doesn't just happen within the media industry, but a lot of it is produced by media outlets too. Earlier this year, there was a high level of press scrutiny around Caroline Flack, with a lot of negative headlines that many would agree were manipulative and hurtful.
But these headlines wholly differ from those about Geoffrey Boycott. Although they both had assault allegations against them, the media ignored most of what happened to Geoffrey, but somehow didn’t miss a single detail when they were addressing Caroline. Unfortunately, the media’s output is suspected of being one of the reasons she sadly took her own life. When you compare these two cases – and look at how differently the celebrities were treated by the media – it can be argued that sexism has a part to play here.
I believe sexism in the media is overlooked by many of us but not on purpose. Because we see this happening so often, it has almost become a societal norm and it shouldn’t be. But with the rise of petitions, such as ‘Caroline’s Law’, we are no longer ignoring what we have been for years.
2020 is a time to put the media’s negativity, and the hate they are influencing, to an end – and abolish hate speech online and offline. Of course, sexism in the media has decreased over time but it no longer needs to exist. With the future in our hands, it is time we make a change.
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