Thesis on Horizontal Segregation of Women
In developing (and developed) countries, studies have shown that women are concentrated in areas of journalism such as education, health, fashion, the arts, and women and children’s programs, areas that are seen as marginal in importance.
In terms of promotion or career development, these areas are viewed as ‘dead-ends’. Since women in these societies are seen as primarily home-oriented, child-centered and emotional, their assignments in the media are thus limited to areas of activity associated with their domestic role. For instance, in India’s television broadcasting network there is a clear understanding that certain types of programs – cultural magazines, and women’s and children’s programs – are more suited to women producers on the assumption that they will handle them with a greater sense of responsibility.
This understanding is also common among women journalists in the case of Sri Lanka. Women journalists could be useful because they have a touch (are in touch with) of food, children’s education and youth problems and could cover these developmental topics effectively.
A study of women and media management in Ecuador showed that most women described themselves as columnists writing news and commenting on city events, the social scene or women’s affairs, health and social problems. Even as heads of departments or programs, women tend to edit features on children, women, and religious and educational material.
Men occupy the most important positions through the mass media. The “importance” derives not only from their place in the organizational hierarchies, but also from the status attached to their assigned activities covering employment, economics, and science. The less prestigious beats are viewed as “light” duties suitable for women – the “weaker” people.
The woman in journalism is given the job of putting the icing on a cake that is essentially baked by men. In general, newspaper editors and radio managers in the various studies cited here (Ecuador, Egypt, Nigeria, India) view women journalists as timid, lacking in initiative, uninformed, not career-oriented and are overly emotional. Some readers share similar attitudes. For example, one newspaper reader was quoted as saying: “Women are good in the domestic sphere – taking care of the house, children, husband, the family, the home. When they leave this area they become “difficult” and normally forget their major responsibility: the home”.