Why Many Media Organizations Are Unsafe for Women — HR Study

One would think the news media would be a safe workplace. But for many women, it isn’t. Nearly two-thirds of female journalists worldwide responding to a study say they’ve faced abuse, harassment and threats in the workplace.

The 2013 global study — conducted by the International News Safety Institute (INSI) and the International Women’s Media Foundation — reveals about 64 percent of respondents say they face such hazards.

Most of the threatening behavior was from bosses or co-workers. Regarding sexual harassment: 45 percent from co-workers and 28 percent from their bosses.

“When we talk about safety for the media, we often think in terms of staying safe in war zones, civil unrest and environmental disasters, but how often do we think of the office as a hostile environment?” said INSI Director Hannah Storm in a press release.

Hannah Storm (LinkedIn)

“What this ground-breaking survey shows is that women journalists are often at risk in their own work places as well: targeted by their colleagues, and because they are let down by the very people they should be able to trust, the violence and harassment they face goes widely unreported and therefore unpunished,” she added.

Some 875 women participated in the study.

Here is the geographical breakdown:

— Africa (12.69 percent/111)

— Arab states (5.37 percent/47)

— Asia and Pacific (28.69 percent/251)

— The Commonwealth of Independent States (1.171 percent/15)

— Europe (19.43 percent/170)

— Latin/South America (11.20 percent/98)

— North America (21.60 percent/189)

Age-wise, some 41 percent were between 25 and 34.

More than 82 percent of them were reporters.

Workplaces where the dangers lurked: 

— Newspapers – About 49 percent

— Magazines – 23 percent

— Television – 21 percent

— Radio – 16 percent

A lesson for all companies: More than 400 of the women said their companies failed to prepare them for dealing with harassment.

In addition, my sense is that news organizations need to make harassment training mandatory.

The preceding data is just a snapshot. For the voluminous details, see the study.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are HR management tips:

 HR Tips — So Your Recruiting Enhances Diversity, Not Sexism — Can we agree that a diverse workplace leads to innovation, problem-solving and enhanced enterprise communication? And, as you know, inequality is unlawful. Why then are there so many companies that unknowingly, perhaps, promote sexism? 

How to avoid EEOC Discrimination Suits — Here are six tips for micro-companies and 13 strategies for larger organizations to avoid EEOC migraines.

Human Resources: 4 Reasons Why New Managers Fail — Best practices guarantee success for new managers. Not to over-simplify, but there are often four reasons why new managers are unsuccessful – ineffective communication, failure to develop trusting relationships, weak results, and a failure to delegate. 

Why Companies Fall into the Management Lawsuit Trap — News headlines continue to show there are a myriad of ways managers set themselves for lawsuits. Small and many big companies are ripe for EEOC complaints.  

10 Tips on Responding to EEOC Complaints — Despite all the court cases, warnings and complaints filed at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a study shows big companies are guilty of favoritism in their promotion practices. 

“In a fascist shift, reporters start to face more and more harassment, and they have to be more and more courageous simply in order to do their jobs.”

-Naomi Wolf


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.