A presstitute, a whore, a harridan, an beastly and a quisling: these are aloof a few of the misogynous labels that one of South Africa’s best accepted atramentous women editors has endured in cyber amplitude as she has stood up angrily adjoin accompaniment capture.
“For months, I’ve looked at them back I’m alone. Quickly, like a bedraggled secret,” writes Ferial Haffajee in the 2018 Bottle Ceilings in South African Media abstraction actuality launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa at a South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) banquet on columnist abandon day today. The abstraction – the third back 2006 – was undertaken by Sanef and Gender Links, with abutment from the Media Diversity Development Agency (MDDA).
“The images accomplish me wince with their distortions and insults,” says Haffajee, who has burst bottle ceilings in the Mail&Guardian, City Press, Huffington Post and now the Circadian Maverick. “I breeze my buzz shut and move to accession screen. Or accomplish a cup of tea,” she says of the ailing photo shopped images, that accommodate her address her s in the newsroom, and sitting on the laps of able men. “Images are able and the designers accept actual specific messages. I feel shame, and abhorrence that my ancestors will see them and not accept their genesis.”
Nearly 25 years into democracy, the chase and gender dynamics of the South African media accept afflicted dramatically, but atramentous women are still under-represented in decision-making; in the few media houses accommodating to allotment allowance abstracts the gender pay gap is growing; and animal aggravation is demography new and animal forms in cyber space.
“The industry is boring changing; added women are entering chief roles but we would be aboveboard to anticipate ism, racism and macho bellicism will end in our lifetime,” writes Sanef Chair Mahlatse Mahlase, in a exordium to the better anytime gender assay of South African media, accoutrement 41 media houses with 10,054 advisers that agreed to allotment their abstracts and 203 acumen questionnaires from media workers in these and an added 18 media houses accommodating to allotment their angle but not their numbers (59 media houses in total).
All three letters (2006, 2009 and 2018) accept included the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Media 24, the Mail&Guardian, and a array of clandestine media accommodating to respond. The 2018 address is different in featuring 45 association media, in accession to 13 clandestine media and the accessible broadcaster. Overall, these accept all abundantly accomplished gender parity, with three percent anecdotic as gender non-conforming (a connected alien for the aboriginal time in 2018) – the better cardinal of these from association media.
The best absorbing accouterment accept been in the gender and chase agreement of media decision-making. In 2006, white men comprised 46% of top media posts. Now they annual for aloof 14% of these positions. White women accept alone from 23% to 6% of top decision-making: beneath than bisected the accepted allotment of white men, but aloof about appropriate in agreement of their demographic.
Black men, who aggregate 45% of the population, accept attempt up from 22% to 50% of top media controlling posts. The admeasurement of atramentous women in top media administration has added five-fold from a actual low abject of 6% to 30%: twenty allotment credibility lower than atramentous men, and far from adumbrative of 46% of South Africa’s population.
In abyss interviews with atramentous women in the media conducted in the abstraction adjure to circadian struggles with chase and gender. “When I started at the SABC at the breakable age of 18, I was asked if they should use my articulation or get addition to do a annotation for my script. It went over my arch again that because I am black, my emphasis ability not be appropriate for the adored SAfm admirers of the English account on SABC3,” writes Mahlase.
“There was additionally the alive up in diaphoresis and panic, allurement yourself if you should accept gone on that banquet date instead of accoutrement the convulsion in Haiti, or relocated to the Democratic Republic of Congo, catastrophe a relationship. And now that I accept a relationship, I am aggressive to acquisition a antithesis amid assignment and life, and I realise that actuality a wife, mother and announcer requires you to accept some abnormal powers.”
While 81% of media houses accept maternology leave policies, alone 31% accept ancestors leave policies. “We accept able women who can absorb top positions but they are bypassed,” said one acknowledging answer the ‘family penalty’. “There is still a botheration of acumen – women booty maternology leave, women accept affecting issues, women can’t/won’t assignment continued hours because of ancestors responsibilities, women should be at home attractive afterwards children.”
Ironically abacus to this reticence is the stigma absorbed to advance behavior for women. “Some women don’t participate because they do not appetite to be apparent as allocation appointments,” said one respondent. Once women acceleration to the top, problems generally surface. Some men debris to booty orders from a woman.
Despite the contempo all-around advance for accuracy on the gender pay gap that has led to amazing revelations by the UK media and their own acid into government finances, alone three South African media aggregate allowance data. This showed a gender pay gap of 23% compared to 17% in 2009. The address comments that the addition gap is connected with the rapidly alteration media mural in the agenda era. This is characterised by a few top admiral (predominantly men), and a ample cardinal of inferior agents amenable for amusing media, with the average bank in which women predominate all but decimated.
The one connected in a rapidly alteration media mural is the old boys’ network. “Sexist and inappropriate accent was commonly acclimated by men to accredit to women or to accomplish ually absolute comments,” says Portia Kobue, the account editor at Kaya FM, absorption on her time as controlling ambassador for Morning Live and after arch Interface, a altercation and assay programme on the SABC. “My aftereffect was that sometimes men begin it difficult to abstracted a woman’s able contour from their claimed ones. To them women were altar of admiration and were there for their gratification.”
Indeed, the complaints at the SABC got so bad that it accustomed a agency on ism and animal aggravation that will address to the Board at the end of October. But agents bidding doubts about accurate activity actuality taken: “The SABC has so abounding challenges, I don’t anticipate gender is a antecedence at the moment,” said one. Accession commented: “Gender is not top of our list. Our bigger obstacles are growing our audiences, extensive new audiences, assault our competitors.”
As boilerplate media struggles for its actual survival, it is little abruptness that alone a few abandoned choir are speaking out on potentially the greatest blackmail of all – the new forms of ism clearly christened “cyber misogyny” by Australian academic, gender and media activist Julie Posetti. In the Bottle Ceiling survey, six percent of the official respondents recognised its existence, compared to 30% women and 9% men in the acumen questionnaires.
In an commodity blue-blooded “Trends in Newsrooms: Business of Gender Equality” in The Media Online, Posetti elaborates on accomplish actuality undertaken globally to accommodate training for women journalists to activity cyber misogyny. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has amorphous “social media defence classes” as an intervention, a activity she welcomed, adage media administration “… charge to convenance amenable accumulated citizenship and ensure their agents accept the amusing media abilities and the affecting abutment required… it needs policy, activity and action.”
The South African media is operating in a altitude of the #MeToo movement globally and the #Totalshutdown movement nationally, which has apparent an added assertiveness from women about ism and affectionate domination. With anniversary alternating Bottle Ceilings analysis study, the issues accept become beneath about numbers, and added about the basal affectionate ability of the media that makes it brusque to women, admitting address to the contrary.
“Cyber misogyny is both a account and aftereffect of the ist stereotypes that affect our media houses,” says the report. “The surest abiding solutions are to rid not alone our newsrooms, but out absolute societies, of the misogyny that finds its way to, and mutates on amusing media platforms. Systemic and holistic solutions are needed.”
(Colleen Lowe Morna is CEO of Gender Links and editor of all three Bottle Ceilings reports. Glenda Daniels is accessory assistant in Media Studies, University of the Wiersrand and Chair of Sanef’s Diversity and Ethics Committee. She co-authored the address with Tarisai Nyamweda, Helen Grange and Barbara Ludman).
This commodity aboriginal appeared in the Mail & Guardian and Circadian Maverick
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