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Sexism, Journalism and Australian Women in the Media – a January round up.

Date: 20 January 2016

Unless you were living under a rock in early January 2016, you will know that Network 10 sports reporter, Mel McLaughlin, endured public, workplace harassment from Big Bash League cricketer, Chris Gayle, during a post match interview. A public storm erupted, and Gayle was duly admonished and fined by ‘the authorities’. He apologised, although reports of his subsequent behaviour  suggest that he remains unrepentant. Furthermore, McLaughlin has been accused of ‘hypocrisy’ and double standards by keyboard warriors via social media, after joking with an on-air colleague that she ‘owed him a beer’ after calling him by the wrong name in post match discussion.  It’s PC gone mad, they say, ‘reverse sexism’! Why can’t women take a joke?

Perhaps it’s because women are still massively under-represented as news professionals and as expert voices in media coverage that they are still subjected to this sort of treatment. In a a 2015 article published in The Conversation Dr. Louise North, Senior Research Fellow in Journalism in the School of Communication & Creative Arts at Deakin University, observed that ‘journalists, editors and executives at the highest levels in the Australian news media have known for decades that the industry excludes, marginalises and stereotypes women both as sources of news and as newsmakers.’ She was hopeful that a 2014 decision by Bloomberg News  mandating that, ‘All Bloomberg News enterprise work must include at least one woman’s voice, and preferably a balance of men and women’ might make a difference to the experience of women in Australia, by offering a model to promote equality in Australian media organisations. Sadly, we seem to be still waiting, if recent events are any indication.

Read Louise North’s essay about Women in Print Media in the Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth Century Australia.

Browse information about Australian women journalists in The Women’s Pages.

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