I’d like to think that as both a woman and an ethnic minority, I’m pretty lucky. I’ve never experienced sexual harassment and I haven’t experienced any discernible discrimination in my career.
Granted, I graduated less than a year ago; this is really only the beginning for me. I’m 22, working in a sub-editing role in online media; although I’ve only held my title since earlier this year, I’ve worked in the biz in one way or another for 3-plus years. Heck, if you count all the unpaid writing I did for various websites throughout high school, we could take it back to 2002! Oh, and although you probably know this already, entry level starts from $30k (perhaps not so much in Auckland, but certainly in smaller towns).
Unlike, say, engineering or IT, media/publishing is pretty evenly split gender-wise. Going into third year journalism, it was definitely female heavy, but balanced out by a large proportion of post-grad male students (we shared virtually all our classes).
As women, do we have any advantages in the field? Perhaps some people may be more inclined to talk to young, pretty things. I can imagine it might be a plus in a situation like a doorknock (after a death); we’re often perceived as being more sensitive, less threatening, less hard-talking.
I’ve certainly noticed a dearth of females in more senior and management roles. The exception would probably be more on the magazine side (especially in lifestyle/fashion titles, obviously). No surprise there really; it’s a workforce-wide issue. This isn’t a 9-5 job – unless you’re a business writer, maybe – and not super-conducive to work-life balance.
One thing that’s always bugged me is that a friend of mine, whom I got a job here, was hired about six months after me at a higher rate. I got a raise and promotion earlier this year, and again, six months later, the same happened for him – again at a higher rate. Now, I’m not talking huge amounts…more like 50c-$1 per hour. But I’d really like to know if this is a matter of timing, or if this actually was a case of gender discrimination at play.
TV is a bit of a different beast. It doesn’t take much to realise that much like in Hollywood, age is definitely a barrier for women in TV news. (As for ethnicity, we won’t even venture there). Ex-journalist Janet Wilson caused a bit of a furore earlier this year when she blogged on the matter, accusing female telly reporters of being “all tits and teeth” while, looks and age aren’t, perhaps, so much factors for men.
But from my limited experience and observations, I don’t feel there’s any inherent bias against women in publishing. It’s about working your connections. It’s about tenacity. It’s about dedication. This is perhaps where some females (like myself) might struggle a bit; you need to be pushy sometimes, there’s no room for shame or shyness. Ultimately, your success will come down to your personality and how much you’re willing to put into your work.
How about you? Have you been a victim of discrimination; are you forced to work harder to prove yourself or is your industry pretty darn egalitarian? Share your experiences in the comments.
“If I were a Boy” Carnival
This post is part of a series of bloggers sharing their candid experiences or observations about women in the workplace which is not at all meant to be a male-bashing expedition whatsoever.
Please head over to these other wonderful bloggers and read about their experiences.
- Jacq of Single Mom Rich Mom — Accounting, 40s
- Fabulously Broke in the City — Consulting, 20s
- Stacking Pennies — Engineering, 20s
- Musings of an Abstract Aucklander — Publishing, 20s
- Little Miss Moneybags — Publishing — 20s
- Dog Ate my Finances
- Young and Thrifty — Public Sector, 20s
- Paranoid Asteroid
- Insomniac Lab Rat — Science, 20s