Investigating reasons for male prevalence in the journalism profession in Cameroon

Project Details

Department
JOURNALISM AND MASS COMMUNICATION
Project ID
JMC010
Price
5000XAF
International: $20
No of pages
X
Instruments/method
X
Reference
X
Analytical tool
X
Format
 MS Word & PDF
Chapters
1-5

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OR

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the study

Research into journalism and gender to date has found somewhat contradictory evidence as to how women and men practice journalism. In the midst of Jill Abramson’s firing and related fallout, there’s been a general statement tossed about that goes something like this: “Journalism, which is a traditionally male-dominated field …” Amy Joyce (2014).

The growing interest in journalism as a masculine profession has given rise to accusations of a glass ceiling facing female journalists worldwide (de Bruin & Ross 2004; Morna 2007; Fröhlich & Lafky 2008; Vochocová 2008). According to many studies, there are obvious differences between women and men in both their experiences and practices of professional work (Savolainen & Zilliacus-Tikkanen 1992; Steiner 1998; van Zoonen 1998a; McKay 2000; Chambers, Steiner & Fleming 2004; Zilliacus-Tikkanen 2008). In recent years, the study of gendered professions has emphasized the practices of media organizations, as well as organizational and professional identity (Carter, Branston & Allan 1998; Bruin & Ross 2004). Among other aspects, these studies highlight the need for multiple perspectives or a variety of combined factors. Rather than focusing on a single facet of a phenomenon, it is necessary to study the linkages between various aspects, such as organizations, professions, and gender, as well as the social, cultural, and individual experiences of both female and male journalists.

The reasons for the male prevalence and gender imbalance in journalism cannot be overlooked. Many important works have provided a basis for feminist claims concerning the importance of promoting gender balance and pluralism in media. The Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP), which collects data every five years on a one-day-a-year basis, provides insights into the gendered nature of newsroom composition and constitutes a uniquely global output to disclose gender bias in media content as a trans-cultural phenomenon (Ross and Carter 2011). Other international and global studies have shown that despite overall historic gains and pockets of progress, women in journalism lag when it comes to leading. Landmark reports such as Margaret Gallagher’s (1995) research for UNESCO and Byerly’s (2011) report have documented gender positions in news organizations around the world and identified glass ceilings and other invisible barriers for female journalists. In terms of pay, the Central European Labor Studies Institute and Wage Indicator Foundation (2012) reported that regardless of decades of legislation, nowhere do female journalist’s wages and benefits equal those of their male colleagues. During the first six decades of the twentieth century, women’s presence in journalism was scarce (Garcia [1994] 2009, 73–74; Sobreira 2003). In the last decade or so, journalism studies of gender have looked beyond the percentages of women and men in the media workforce to analyze how gender shapes their experiences and professional identities (see Byerly 2013; De Bruin and Ross 2004; Chambers, Steiner, and Fleming 2004; Djerf-Pierre 2007, 2011; Gallego 2002; Kim 2006; Lavie and Lehman-Wilzig 2005; North 2009a, 2009b, 2014; Robinson 2005, 2008; Ross 2001, 2004, 2014; Steiner 1998; Tsui and Lee 2012; Van Zoonen 1998). This research has called for the need to learn more about what is actually taking place on the work floor and go beyond the mere “body count” (De Bruin 2000, 224). Indeed, More to the point, numbers do not explain where or how gender is meaningful, when and how women have cracked the glass ceiling in terms of senior-level management, how gender compounds (or does not) problems of castes, ethnicity, religion, marital or domestic status. (Steiner 2009, 125) Research on news culture provides important explanations of the gendered nature of the profession. Liesbet Van Zoonen (1998), for example, has shown that the increase of human-interest news and other changes in journalism towards making it more consumer-oriented and market-driven have made more room for female journalists in the profession. However, this has created new dilemmas for women: “on the one hand they have to show that despite being women they are good journalists, but on the other hand they have to show that despite being journalists they are still real women too” (Van Zoonen 1998, 45). A cross-comparative study presented evidence that male and female journalists have similar epistemological beliefs and role conceptions about their work, a conclusion that can be explained by the appropriation of the dominant journalistic ideology and masculine values early in their careers (Hanitzsch and Hanusch 2012, 274). Yet, the commonly held assertion that gender might be an irrelevant or a minor issue has given the pronounced presence of women in newsrooms remains problematic as women still face systemic gender discrimination (Steiner 2009, 117). Despite the increasing number of female journalists in newsrooms, women are still seen as outsiders by their male colleagues.

The growing interest in journalism as a masculine profession has given rise to accusations of a glass ceiling facing female journalists worldwide (de Bruin & Ross 2004; Morna 2007; Fröhlich & Lafky 2008; Vochocová 2008). According to many studies, there are obvious differences between women and men in both their experiences and practices of professional work (Savolainen & Zilliacus-Tikkanen 1992; Steiner 1998; van Zoonen 1998a; McKay 2000; Chambers, Steiner & Fleming 2004; Zilliacus-Tikkanen 2008). In recent years, the study of gendered professions has emphasized the practices of media organizations, as well as organizational and professional identity (Carter, Branston & Allan 1998; Bruin & Ross 2004). Among other aspects, these studies highlight the need for multiple perspectives or a variety of combined factors. Rather than focusing on a single facet of a phenomenon, it is necessary to study the linkages between various aspects, such as organizations, professions, and gender, as well as the social, cultural, and individual experiences of both female and male journalists.

1.2 Problem Statement

As we can see, the journalist recognizes gender differences but he takes them for granted, positioning himself as a spectator and leaving the gender status quo unquestioned. On the other hand, women frequently complained about difficulties in succeeding at work and meeting family needs at the same time. This was a recurrent issue in interviews with female journalists and it disclosed the perception of the “modern women” emancipation, which nonetheless flows into the “double shift” or motherhood dilemma (North 2014). Female journalists were quite aware of these “limitations”. Some women admitted to self-constraining their careers because they felt that they could not let their families down, as recognized by their male colleagues. In their daily struggle to “have it all”, women often adopt survival strategies which include the anticipation and negotiation of schedules, stories, or tasks. Within their endeavor for family-friendly working conditions, female journalists do not always get the support they expect from their female colleagues. In fact, during interviews, although most men would refuse to recognize gender inequalities in journalism professions when it came to family-work conflicts, they would easily identify contrasts in the way women and men dealt with this problem. Interestingly, women found their male colleagues more supportive than other women and even complained about their female colleagues who were unsympathetic towards their personal problems. One reason for this attitude could be that female journalist who reaches high positions may feel the need to prove that they can act out their roles as their male colleagues do (Gallego 2000) and, in their attempt to do so, end up exacerbating what they believe they are expected to do. This research paper, therefore, seeks to critically examine the reasons for male prevalence in the journalism profession in Cameroon

1.3 Research Questions

1.3.1 Main research questions

– To investigate the main reason for the male prevalence in journalism in Cameroon.

1.3.2 Specific Research questions

1 How can the gender-based problem be regularized?

2 What can be done to reduce the prevalence of men in journalism in Cameroon?

1.4 Research hypotheses

It is obvious that due to the limitations faced by female journalists, male journalists are prevailing more in the field hence limiting the prevalence of men is really difficult. Therefore this work is based on the following hypothesis;

HO1 the gender-based problem can be regularized by limiting the prevalence of men in journalism in Cameroon.

HO2 the gender-based problem cannot be regularized by limiting the prevalence of men in journalism in Cameroon.

1.5 Objectives of the study

1.5.1 General objective

This study has a general objective to critically sort out the reason for the male prevalence of journalism in Cameroon.

1.5.2 Specific objectives

The specific objectives are;

1 To investigate the gender-based problem in Cameroon and how it can be regularized

2 To thoroughly examine the prevalence of male journalism in Cameroon and how it can be regularized

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