In the midst of Jill Abramson’s firing and the related fallout, there’s been a general statement tossed about that goes something like this: “Journalism, which is a traditionally male-dominated field … ”
But is it really a male-dominated field? And if so, how dominated?
In a word, yes. And in another word, very.
The American Society of News Editors does an annual newsroom census to determine how many men, women and minorities make up the country’s newsrooms. The employment of men and women by job category has remained about the same for years — newsrooms remain about two-thirds male. In 2013, the percentage of male supervisors is 65.4 versus 34.6 percent for females. Reporters? 62.2 percent male versus 37.8 female. Copy editors/layout editors/online producers (all one category) are divided 60.1 percent male and 39.9 female, while photographers/videographers make up the largest gender gap: 75.1 percent male versus 24.9 percent female. Grand total: Men have 63.7 percent of the gigs, while women have 36.3 percent. (This is where I mention that women, as of 2012, make up 46.9 percent of the U.S. workforce, and women comprised 51.5 percent of all management, professional and related positions.)
The number of female bylines, and at the helm, is similarly small. And the worst offender among newspapers is the Grey Lady, according to the Women’s Media Center’s “Status of Women in U.S. Media” report released in February. The study pointed out that while some major barriers were broken by the likes of Abramson, there was a long way to go.
In fact, in print journalism, the New York Times had the fewest female bylines (31 percent) of the 10 largest newspapers. The Chicago Sun Times had the most female bylines, with 46 percent. The Washington Post had the third highest, with 41 percent. “During my tenure, half of the news masthead of the Times — traditionally the highest ranking editors — are women,” Abramson told the Women’s Media Center at the time. “That’s a significant milestone.”