Looking at journalism through rose-tinted glasses an explorative study of gender inequality in newsrooms and job satisfaction of female journalists

Sara De Vuyst UGent , Karin Raeymaeckers UGent ,
Crises, 'Creative Destruction' and the Global Power and Communication Orders
Proceedings. p.1-18


In recent years, the numerical inequality between male and female journalists is increasingly eliminated. However, the field of journalism remains horizontally and vertically divided along gender lines. Female journalists are inhibited from climbing the career ladder because they are confronted with a glass ceiling or leave the profession to take care of their children. The over-representation of female journalists in soft news reporting indicates that the journalistic field is also horizontally segregated. The presence of these gender-related barriers seems yet inconsistent with the high levels of job satisfaction often reported by female journalists in quantitative research. We examined this paradox by means of in-depth interviews with 19 female journalists in different age groups, media sectors and positions in Flanders (Belgium). The analysis confirms the existence of all ‘traditional’ barriers that women experience in the journalistic sector. The added value of this study is that we registered several additional difficulties, and most importantly that we gained insight in the strategies that our respondents use to deal with these gender-related barriers, and prevent them from having a negative impact on their overall level of job satisfaction. These strategies are related to the support of a partner, the flexibility in the newsroom towards journalists with children, the choice to work part-time or freelance, and the use of new information and communication technologies.