Women in Media

"The Hand that Rules the Press, the Radio, the Screen and the Far-Spread Magazine, Rules the Country"

During the past decade, advances in information technology have facilitated a global communications network that transcends national boundaries and has an impact on public policy, private attitudes and behavior, especially of children and young adults. Everywhere the potential exists for the media to make a far greater contribution to the advancement of women. More women are involved in careers in the communications sector, but few have attained positions at the decision-making level or serve on governing boards and bodies that influence media policy. The lack of gender sensitivity in the media is evidenced by the failure to eliminate the gender-based stereotyping that can be found in public and private local, national and international media organizations.

Women should be empowered by enhancing their skills, knowledge and access to information technology. This will strengthen their ability to combat negative portrayals of women internationally and to challenge instances of abuse of the power of an increasingly important industry. Since the 1960s, feminists have argued, "it matters who makes it." When it comes to the mass media, "who makes it" continues to be men.

Women working in the media have made some inroads. In 2001, the International Federation of Journalists reported that around the world, 38 per cent of all working journalists are women. Studies conducted by Canadian researchers Gertrude Robinson and Armande Saint-Jean have found that 28 per cent of newspaper editors are female. Denis Monière, Political Analyst and Professor at Quebec's University of Montreal maintains that even if the visibility of female journalists has grown in the last ten years, we should not be too quick to shout victory. In 2002, the Canadian Newspaper Association reported that 43 per cent of Canadian newspaper employees are women. However, they account for only eight per cent of editors-in-chief and twelve per cent of publishers. Women employed in the sector make up 70 per cent of the advertising department and 80 per cent of the accounting and finance staff.

Some of the prominent women in media are: Therese Bonney - a photographer during World War II, Magda Abu-Fadil - an Arab reporter, Sonia Dabbous - an Arab assistant editor, Assia Djebar - an Arab Novelist, poet, and film director, Salima Ghezali - an Arab journalist, Attiyat Al-Abnudi - an Arab film maker, Faten Hamama - an Arab actress, Maha Garagash - an Arab film director, Mona al Marri - an Arab journalist, Rakhshan Banietemad - an Iranian film maker, and the list goes on.

Nowadays, one of the most powerful tools that shape people's opinion is the media. Should we then accept the media, which represents only men and their opinion? Shouldn't women also have an equal representation in the all media vehicles? Journalists, photographers, news reporters and all women working in the media industry should be prominent in voicing their opinions concerning incorrect attitudes, traditions and ideas, which are responsible for many problems women face. Women, playing an active role in media can help eliminate the wrong image the others get about them. They can limit using women as a tool to promote marketing for a certain commodity. Women should not accept the media that degrades them by treating them as just a body that promotes profit. Women should tell the world that they have something more than a body; they have a mind that can sharply think, have emotions, thought and vision.