JENNIFER C. KERR
The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 23, 2011; 3:10 AM
WASHINGTON -- Women have made strides in many of the world's newsrooms but still face significant barriers, especially in top-level management and reporting positions within media companies, according to a study being released Wednesday.
The researchers found that 73 percent of the top media management jobs are occupied by men, compared with 27 percent by women. Among the ranks of reporters, 36 percent were women.
"While there have been some gains since the mid-'90s, women still have a long way to go to gain parity as workers in the news industry globally," said Liza Gross, executive director of the International Women's Media Foundation. "In many regions of the world, just representation of women in the newsroom as journalists is an issue."
The two-year study was commissioned by the foundation and was being released at a Washington conference of female media executives. The report, billed as the first comprehensive global study on the issue, examined more than 500 companies - television, radio and newspaper - in 59 countries.
Overall, men represented about 64 percent of the total workforce, compared with 35 percent for women.
Some individual countries fared far worse in female representation. In Japan, the study found, men in news companies outnumber women 6 to 1.
The findings did offer a few bright spots for women. Among senior professionals, such as news-gathering, editing, writing and anchoring jobs, women were near parity, holding 41 percent of those positions.
Other findings show the numbers of women in the news media varied dramatically by region and company position.
In the region that includes Asia and Australia, women were barely 13 percent of those in senior management. But in South Africa, they exceeded men at that level, with women there making up nearly 80 percent of those in higher-level management jobs.
The picture in the United States shows women well represented, making up about 41 percent of the total news workforce.
The study, however, suggests there are obstacles to climbing into top-decision making posts in U.S. companies. Women were less than one-fourth of those in top management, and only about one-third occupied seats on governing boards.
Executives at the conference were to vote Friday on a plan of action to improve representation of women in the media.