Bridging the Gap: Women Journalists Push for Equity in Politics and Media

by Xara Aziz
Credit: Unsplash

Women’s perspectives are crucial in both politics and journalism, but true equality remains a work in progress, according to two veteran journalists.

Sonya Ross and Susan Page, speaking at the 2024 National Press Foundation Women in Politics Journalism Fellowship, acknowledged progress since their careers began, but highlighted the persistent gender gap in American institutions.

“So, given the day of the week, sometimes I feel like we’ve made this great progress, and sometimes I feel like there are so many obstacles and so much further that we need to go,” Page said.

Page pointed to the rise of women in government since 1979, arguing that their presence brings more than just numbers.

“Women often prioritize and approach issues differently than men,” she said, citing areas like childcare, education, and healthcare.

Newsrooms also need continuing transformation, Ross said.

“Personal experiences matter in journalism, but sometimes there’s resistance to using them,” she said. “Being a woman doesn’t automatically mean bias. Women’s experiences inform their coverage of issues that directly impact them. Stifling that perspective weakens journalism.”

Renewed changes also are required in America’s newsrooms.

“The level of abuse aimed at women in these fields is alarming,” Page said. “Women need strategies for when and how to respond.” “Otherwise, you have this homogenous approach to journalism that forces you to suppress that, when suppression is not always the best thing for that set of facts.”

Ross added that the harassment often aims to silence the target.

“I’ve been targeted,” she said. “But I know they want me to stop what I’m doing. Refusing to give them that satisfaction keeps me going.”

According to The Justice, a Brandeis University publication, “Currently, women comprise 61.6% of bachelor’s degrees and 65.3% of master’s degrees in journalism and communication. As a collective, women represent 53.4% of all journalism working in the newsroom. However, women continue to be underrepresented in leadership positions within newsrooms. It’s not enough for women to simply receive an education in journalism; they deserve to have their perspectives heard. Women need to be given the opportunity to hold major roles in newsrooms, rather than just being in the majority of those receiving journalism education.”

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