Women now account for more than half of Australian journalists but are paid less and hold less powerful positions than their male counterparts, a new university study has revealed.
Over 55% of Australian journalists are female – up from 33% 20 years ago, but only 7% of these women are classified as senior managers, including editos-in-chief and managing editors.
This compares with one-in-five men being in a similar position. Senior managers swung almost 70% male and 30% female but amongst the lower ranks this was reversed, with almost 64%of "rank and file" positions held by women.
The figures come from a new national survey from the University of the Sunshine Coast, which sampled 605 journalists around Australia between May 2012 and March this year. Findings were first published in online research journal, The Conversation.
According to the survey, while women have achieved parity in terms of absolute numbers in the industry, they are still consistently discriminated against in terms of pay as well as their opportunities to move through the ranks towards senior editorial positions.
Author of the report Folker Hanusch, senior lecturer in journalism at University of the Sunshine Coast, said: “The much-discussed glass ceiling still seems to be a considerable hurdle for women to overcome in terms of reaching those senior positions in the news media. Yet, even when they reach this level, they are still typically paid much less than the men – an indication that the media is no different to the general workforce.”
The survey showed that women have significantly lower salaries than men at every editorial level. Only one third earn more than $72,000 a year, compared with around half (53%) of male journalists.
But this salary differential is more pronounced at the high end. Only 1% of female journalists reported an income of more than $144,000 a year. In contrast, 10% of men fell into this category.
The research also stressed that the lower income for women is not just the effect of fewer holding senior editorial ranks.
Data shows that even after controlling for editorial rank, gender is still a significant influence in relation to salary, meaning even at similar levels of responsibility women continue to be paid less than men.
The survey was conducted by telephone with journalists from around the country working at newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, online news sites and news agency AAP, as a random sample of the 8000 to 10,000 journalists in Australia today.