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Women Dominate the Media Sector, While Men Lead it. Ten Common Trends in Moldovan, Georgian and Russian Media

22 April 2019
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Who is making the decisions in media? Do people who work in this field have access to the same benefits and do they have equal chances? Is there diversity in the media industry? – the comparative study conducted by the FOJO Media Institute of Sweden experts answers these and other questions. The document highlights several common issues characteristic of the media in three countries – Georgia, Russia and Moldova, mentioning the role of the press in eliminating stereotypes in the society, as well as gender discrimination. Below we refer to the top ten trends analysed by the study authors.

1. Feminisation of the media
A common trend in the three countries is the feminisation of the media. The phenomenon is correlated with both the statistics that say that the majority of journalism students are women, as well as with the substantial decrease in male employees within the sector caused by low salaries and a decline in the prestige of the journalistic profession. The paradox is that although women form the majority in the sector, the agenda is still being set by men, because they occupy most of the executive positions in mass media. However, the authors of the study claim that Moldova is an exception here, as more women in our country come to occupy executive positions in the media.
2. The journalism is becoming younger
The survey also shows that youth and employees aged 30 to 44 prevail in the staffing lists of media outlets: from 46.0% in Georgia and 49.2% in Russia to 55.4% in Moldova, and that journalism is becoming younger in general. At the same time, in Russia it is very difficult to get a job in the media sector for a recent graduate without experience, while in Moldova it is possible to build a media career, especially on independent platforms, quite quickly due to migration and the limited number of employees on the market. As a result, it is possible to meet an editor-in-chief who is 22–25 years old in Moldova.

3. If you are a man, journalism studies do not matter
Almost 90% of women in Georgia and Moldova have a degree in journalism, while in Russia this figure is just 63.5%. Experts assume that it is harder for women to enter the labour market in this field than for men, for whom the doors open even without relevant education. The value of a journalistic education declines, the study says.

4. Women’s advancement in career... stopped by stereotypes
Opportunities for career growth in journalism for men and women in Georgia and Russia are approximately the same. In Moldova, however, women are more likely to build a career than men: about 37.2% of female respondents and just 20.0% of male respondents have received a promotion within the past 5 years. However, the study reveals that the main impediment for a Moldovan woman to climb the career ladder would be the stereotype that women are created for the family, rather than for a career. Due to namely this impediment Moldova is being outrun in this aspect by Russia and Georgia. In Russia, many more women (46.5%) compared to men (35.4%) hope for a career. While in Georgia, both men and women are equally optimistic, and around 44% of them expect a promotion.

5. Political journalism is more appreciated than social
The study shows that in Russia and Moldova political journalism is rather a man’s job, while social journalism is destined for women. In Georgia and Moldova, around a quarter of all journalists work in political journalism, while in Russia the number is slightly lower – approximately one in five. The gender ratio of political journalists in these countries differs: in Georgia and Moldova there is gender parity, while in Russia men prevail in this area (63.0%). As for social journalism – in Georgia male and female journalists are represented in equal proportion (50% to 50%). Every third Russian female journalist is engaged in social issues, and in Moldova this share constitutes 75%. According to the opinion of the experts from Moldova and Russia, journalists of both genders do not want to deal with social issues, despite the fact that people face a lot of these. One of the reasons – social journalism is not well remunerated.

6. Hostility against journalists
The study finds that hostility against media employees is a relatively widespread phenomenon. This issue is more serious in Moldova, where almost two-thirds of respondents say they have faced hate, threats and persecution. Russian and Georgian journalists face certain hostility sporadically. Nevertheless, almost one in 10 respondents working in mass media in the three countries has been subjected to moral pressure to some degree.

7. Gender discrimination
In Georgia, 24.1% of male journalists and 35.9% of female journalists acknowledge gender discrimination, in Moldova – 23.3% of men and 37.7% of women, and in Russia the corresponding figures are 12.9% and 33.1%.
The study authors claim, that as seen from this data, the largest number of women who acknowledge the existence of gender discrimination (from all three countries) is in Moldova (37.7%), which can be a sign of certain problems with the labour and professional rights of women in the media.

8. Women are affected by social insecurity more often
In Moldova and Russia, more men than women (86.7% and 90.7% respectively) work under employment contracts. A significantly lower number of women occupy socially protected positions (75.5% in Moldova and 85.4% in Russia). The difference between men and women who work in conditions with social security, is quite tangible (12.0% and 5.3% respectively). In Georgia, one in seven journalists works without social guarantees. In Moldova the number of such employees is lower, but the gap between men and women who work under the least advantageous employment conditions is larger, with 11.0% of men and 17.0% of women holding socially unprotected jobs. In Russia this gap is smaller – 7.0% of men and 9.8% of women. The comparative study shows that more women than men work under conditions of social insecurity in all three countries.

9. Female journalists are more conservative than male ones
In the study the most widespread gender stereotypes regarding career prospects for men and women have been reviewed, such as: ‘Family is more important than work for women’, ‘women themselves do not tend to build careers’ and so on. Thus, among the countries studied, Georgia would have the highest level of freedom from the aforementioned stereotypes. Moldova follows in this ranking, while Russia occupies the last position with the highest representation of conservative ideas. For example, ‘family is more important than work for women’ was supported by 28.3% of women and 13.0% of men in Georgia, 50.0% of women and 50% of men in Moldova and by 58.2% of women and 64.9% of men in Russia. The study has indicated that women had more conservative views than men.
10. A significant number of male journalists in Russia do not acknowledge the phenomenon of sexual harassment
According to the results of the survey, sexual harassment is the most widespread in Russia, with 28.9% of the women and 9.3% of the men surveyed saying they have been victims. This indicator is 1.5–2 times higher than the data from other countries studied: 17.0% of women and 3.3% of men in Moldova and 12.5% and 3.4% respectively in Georgia reported that they had been the victims of sexual harassment. Overall, the results of the survey indicate that the journalistic profession is more dangerous for women, because they risk being subjected to sexual harassment both at a workplace and while performing their professional duties. Nevertheless, one in five Russian journalists (21.6%) does not see sexual harassment as a violation of human rights and personal dignity, but considers it to be just a way to make noise in the ass media. Russian male journalists responded this way during the survey seven times more often than their colleagues in Georgia (3.5%), while in the Republic of Moldova no male journalist chose this answer.

The Study was conducted by the Institute of Social and Economic Studies of Population at the Russian Academy of Sciences on behalf of FOJO Media Institute (Sweden), Linnaeus University with organisational support from ANRI-Media (Russia), Media Development Foundation (Georgia) and Association of Independent Press (Moldova).