Woman Journalists Still Face Sexism, Racism in Newsrooms - Survey

Cape Times (South Africa), August 9, 2006 | Go to article overview

Woman Journalists Still Face Sexism, Racism in Newsrooms - Survey


BYLINE: Boyd Webb

South African woman journalists are still facing racism, sexism and inequalities in newsrooms across the country.

These were the findings of a survey conducted by the SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) based on the experience of senior woman journalists across the country.

The survey coincides with the 50th anniversary of the women's march to Pretoria against such prejudices under a racist and sexist government.

"One can safely extrapolate from the data that discriminatory practices, structural inequalities cultural factors, prejudices, patriarchy and sexism are still alive and well in South African newsrooms. These are clearly prohibiting South Africa's women from realising their potential," said Sanef's executive director Joan Roberts.

The "snapshot survey" was compiled from responses to a questionnaire answered by 40 of 149 Sanef members between March and May this year.

Other findings include that men still felt they were superior to women.

Racism was also cited as one of the hurdles in the way of women's development.

"Preference and privileges enjoyed by white men still prevail, but also the white old boys' club seemed to be replaced by the old black boys' club," Roberts said.

Blaming patriarchy, sexism, prejudice, marginalisation and lack of support as some of the reasons why there are so few woman editors at senior level, the survey called for an urgent need for men to "work" on their gender awareness and sensitivity.

The survey noted that men who thought they were "gender sensitive" were greater obstacles to change than men who were insensitive and made no attempts to change.

Roberts said lack of understanding concerning newsroom policy on gender was a further stumbling block. …

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