We, the women journalists from dozens of media and communication agencies, press offices, and, in general, workers from media and journalism companies, support the feminist general strike that has been called for this coming March 8. In addition, we urge all our female co-workers to join the mobilizations to the extent of their possibilities and circumstances.
As women workers, we all suffer from the same sexism that exists in other sectors of the labour market – precariousness, job insecurity, wage inequality, the glass ceiling, sexual harassment and professional disparagement – but also experience some particularities associated with our profession. We are aware of the social relevance of our work and thus voice our concern about the limited view of reality that is frequently offered by the media, which often lacks the presence and contribution of women. Feminism is also necessary to improve journalism.
Therefore, this March 8 we demand that the media and journalistic companies take our demands into account:
- The wage gap is a reality in our sector. We demand from companies wage transparency and a revision of categories, premiums and professional criteria in order to end it.
- Glass ceiling. The top positions in media and journalistic companies are filled by men. We claim our right to occupy positions of power and responsibility and to be taken into account in professional promotions for intermediate positions.
- Precariousness. We have higher temporality levels than our male peers. In addition, we denounce the labor instability of women freelancers and those forced to work as self-employed, a precarious situation that has become common in recent years.
- Co-responsibility and caretaking. We denounce that work dynamics prioritize presenteeism and free work disposition and are alien to the caretaking needs of all people. We believe that co-responsibility and flexibility should not be a matter of individual goodwill, but a priority that companies must take on in order for these tasks to be shared equally between women and men. As in other sectors, an absence of real conciliation harms women in particular, who end up modifying or reducing their schedules, or in some cases leaving their employment or changing profession to be able to assume care responsibilities.
- Sexual and labor harassment. Many women journalists have been subjected to sexual harassment by colleagues and superiors, as well as by sources. In addition, disparagement, condescension, paternalism and mansplaining are commonplace in newsrooms and outside of them in our daily activity. As communication professionals we suffer from online harassment, as well as violent and sexist comments in our stories.
- Editorial spaces and pundit talk shows are masculinized. There are more than enough women journalists and women experts that can provide balance to these spaces.
- Concern over media’s limited vision and focus. The inequality suffered by women journalists also has consequences in how the media chooses its contents and the lens through which it covers stories. This vision of reality is often partial and biased because it does not take into account to the same extent the experiences, stories and lives of women, who are often treated as secondary characters and stereotyped. An example is the treatment of gender violence, which in many cases continues to blame the victim. The front pages of newspapers and the news headlines are also decided by men.
We urge media audiences and readers to comply to our demands. The women signatories of this manifesto do so individually and we do not want any political party, union or media to appropriate our claims.
We will be reading this manifesto on March 8 at 12:30 in Plaza de Callao in Madrid and we encourage supporters to organize similar readings in other cities of the country.