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Reflections on #MeToo

An unfortunate reality of how long it took women to be heard

Sona Shaik, Reporter

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Me too.

For some, these two simple words empower and encourage women to come forth and share their own stories. For others, it banishes them to no man’s land, where their reputation is tarnished and their careers have come to a screeching stop. This movement has uncovered existing problems regarding women, power, and leadership in the media.

Female students dominate in post-secondary education. Each year, more women pursue post-secondary education than men. However, the majority of the faculties at universities and colleges consist of men. Similarly, as you make your way through the hierarchy in broadcasting companies, newsrooms, and online news organizations, men tend to have the most powerful positions.

According to a Poynter article, two-thirds of graduates with degrees in journalism or mass communications are women. But women only make up one-third of the media industry, a number that decreases for women of color.

If there are more female students pursuing a career in communication, then statistically, shouldn’t there be more women in newsrooms and positions of power? Apparently not. But why?

Women are actually leaving the journalism field. Women leave full-time news jobs for numerous reasons, including: lack of promotion, lower salaries in comparison with their male counterparts, lack of mentors, inflexible work schedules, differing perspectives on news, and harassment.

Trying to find the balance between work and family life is challenging. According to a Forbes article, working women often feel like they are “coming up short when it comes to doing enough, giving enough and being enough” for their children, boss, partner, family, and community.

According to research conducted by the University of Kansas, women experience higher rates of role overload and feel overwhelmed because they’re unable to finish their work in the allotted time.

These problems as well as many others force women to question their career paths. Women ask themselves, “Is it worth it?”. Women often feel helpless, and no one seems to understand or cater to their specific needs.

How do we empower women and encourage them to stay in this field? Promote more qualified women to powerful positions.

Having leaders who genuinely understand experiences unique to women might persuade women to stay in this field. Leaders who are women would be more likely to accommodate work schedules and work loads accordingly because they might have had similar experiences.

Women are as capable of being leaders as men. In fact, having gender equality in top positions benefits everyone. It challenges stereotypes and shifts common perceptions regarding gender roles.

Just ask Joanna Coles, the chief content officer at Hearst Magazines. She is the first person to hold that type of position in the company. Furthermore, she was the former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire.

Or even, Zanny Minton Beddoes, the first female editor-in-chief of The Economist. She was previously the Business Affairs editor and was responsible for the newspaper’s coverage of business, finance, and science.

What about, Alison Overholt, the first woman to edit a general interest sports magazine and the editor-in-chief of ESPN The Magazine and espnW.

Still not convinced? Ask Lydia Polgreen, the editor-in-chief of Huffington Post, a queer African-American woman who is changing the face of journalism.

It is important to see successful people like the women above breaking the mold and creating their own narratives. Different perspectives from different women are compulsory if we want to create engaging, thought-provoking content.

The #MeToo movement has forced powerful people and average citizens alike to question the credibility and motives of the media they consume. If we have any intention of telling compelling, universal stories then we must turn keyboard confessionals into legitimate social and cultural change. To overcome this obstacle, equal representation in the media is essential. Women are essential. Their stories and voices are essential.

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About the Writer
Sona Shaik, Reporter

Sona is a rebellious homosapien who is always looking for an adventure and opportunities to get her hands dirty (both literally and metaphorically). She loves binge watching movies and tv shows and is also passionate about art and politics.

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Reflections on #MeToo