The women of the Toronto Star radio room

We’ve introduced ourselves on the Toronto Star intern blog.

According to Roger Gillespie–senior editor, training and development–the post has been attracting lots of traffic from both twitter and facebook.

In a profession that used to be an old boy’s club, this set of fresh faces does indicate that something big is (and has been) changing in journalism. At the face of things, I’m very proud . . . but I do want to make something clear.

All of these amazing female journalists are much more than pretty young faces. We’re coming up through the system, and we’re getting ready to claim more corner offices.

As the following video illustrates, this progress isn’t something to be taken for granted. The narrator mentions news women about 5:00 minutes in, but quickly notes that they basically stick to the women’s pages, writing about household tips and social events: “Women find it difficult to compete with men in general reporting jobs.”

(Although I have no interest in the attractive arrangement of a table, I’d make a stronger case for reporters who work the phones.)

We originally watched this video in one of my j-school classes at UBC. The predominantly female audience was perhaps amused but certainly not impressed.

As much as we’ve achieved, and as proud as I am to be surrounded by so many compelling and competent women, I think it’s worth noting that we still have a lot of work to do. I’ll leave you with some points to ponder, all from the Media Awareness Network. Read the full text in their original post “Women Working in the Media.”

  • 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 shouldn’t 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 tend to work in “pink-collar ghettos”; they make up 70 per cent of the advertising department, and 80 per cent of the accounting and finance staff.
  • In addition to being un-represented in positions of authority, Monière thinks women are also under-utilized in covering the subjects considered most important—politics, economy and social trends.
  • However, men continue to occupy approximately 75 per cent of the positions of power in the mass media. And the prospects become much bleaker for women as they climb the corporate ladder.
  • Author Kathi Maio reminds us that the march to equality for women in media has had strides forward and setbacks. She writes: “Our story has never been one of steady progress. For example, more women were directing movies in the 1920s (when the industry was new and more open) than in the 1950s. And there were more positive, empowered roles for women in the early ’30s than in the early ’70s.”

“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat… ~Rebecca West”


2 thoughts on “The women of the Toronto Star radio room

  1. Pingback: So, you want to work at the Toronto Star radio room? « The Fab Files

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