The challenges for women in the South African media are becoming less about numbers, and more about the underlying sexism in the media, with new threats like cyber misogyny emerging, according to the third Glass Ceilings survey launched on 19 October 2018.
The study – undertaken by the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) and Gender Links – finds that there have been dramatic shifts in the race and gender composition of media houses since 2006. Black men now comprise half of top media managers. The proportion of black women in top media management has increased fivefold but is still 20 percentage points lower than black men. Black women, who comprise 46% of the population, constitute 40% of senior managers in the media, suggesting that change is on the way.
But it comes at a turbulent time. With new media forms sweeping across the landscape, South Africa fits into the global media pattern of traumatic job losses, random and messy digitisation processes, a huge downturn in advertising revenue and a decline in sales and circulation. While only three out of the 59 media houses that participated in the study gave data on wages, this and general perceptions suggest a growing gender wage gap as a result of fewer senior and top managers and a growing throng of junior cadets running the social media platforms of media houses.
A new threat against women has also emerged in the form of the cyber misogyny that includes some of the ugliest forms of sexism being used to try and silence media women. But the media is operating in a climate of the #MeToo movement globally and the #Totalshutdown movement nationally, which has seen an increased assertiveness from women about sexism and patriarchal domination.
You can download the full report here.