By: Morgan Gstalter
When the executive editor of “The New York Times,” Jill Abramson, was fired for her “brusque management style” in the spring, it shook the media industry up. She was torn apart in a Politico article by Dylan Byers, using “anonymous” sources that were crawling out from all corners of her newsroom, claiming she was unpopular, uncaring, disengaged and “bitchy.”
Ah. The “b” word. It sparked much needed discussion about gender inequality in this field, female leadership, and why her abrupt termination was linked to the fact that she is a women.
A new U.N.-backed report from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media was released recently that discussed gender discrimination that is perpetuated in film.
Think about famous journalists. Compile a list. How many of them are women? The top 3 I thought of were Barbara Walters, Christane Amanpour and Diane Sawyer. I could probably rattle off a few dozen more men but that’s the benefit of this day and age. The study found that compared to doctors, lawyers and athletes, the only career field that was closely split in movies was journalism (60% men, 40% female.)
But is that an accurate representation? Yes. They are moving up, especially in management. In a field once dominated by men since it’s inception, women are taking leading roles in their newsrooms.
The ASNE (American Society of News Editor) released data that says 63% or two-thirds of newspapers had a least one women on their top editorial board. With so many women holding high positions on newspapers, why was Abramson’s managing style critiqued so sharply? Because it was “The New York Times?” Because she was the first female editor? The world may never know
A discussion has been started. Women journalists are rallying together in support of Abramson, as she discussed her career openly for the first time in September’s issue of Cosmopolitan magazine in an article called “I’m Not Ashamed of Getting Fired” by Laura Brounstein and Leslie Yazel. Female editors from “The Chicago Tribune” sent her flowers. Journalism is one of the fastest growing equality career fields for women, giving them more opportunity for equality in the workplace and abilities to hold leadership positions.