ABRAJI’S PROJECT LOOKS AT THE CHALLENGES FACED BY WOMEN IN BRAZILIAN JOURNALISM TODAY

In 2017 a group of reporters, publishers, and executives of media decided to do what they best do: look at data and listen to other female journalists to understand the limits imposed by gender issues on the performance of their professions. It was within this context that Abraji (Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism) and Gender and Number, with the support of Google News Lab, launched the survey ‘Women in Brazilian Journalism.’

The research was based on a two-step methodology. First, four focus groups in different cities to listen to interviewees about personal satisfaction at work, the perception of sexist attitudes and means of harassment at work, evaluation of opportunities, the understanding of gender impact on professional performance and assessment as well as media coverage. Second, an online questionnaire based on the discussions that emerged from the focus groups. More than 500 hundred journalists fulfilled it.

The research has shown that today’s newsroom environment is better, but still far away from being a healthy and safe place for female journalists in Brazil. There are still inequalities in terms of salary and leadership positions and challenges around sexual harassment and machismo behavior.

To start: 64% of the women said that they had suffered sexual harassment; 1 in 10 have received sexual proposals; 92,3% have listened to jokes, and 17,3% have experienced physical aggression.

During the research, women often reported situations in which bosses, sources or co-workers harassed them. According to the research, 75,3% have heard comments about the way they look or their outfit. Often there have been reports of bullying in women revealed that they were discouraged from getting pregnant or taking maternity leave.

Data has shown that women continue to be sent to fashion, behavior, culture, and gastronomy coverages, while men dominate sports, technology, and education. But the research showed a curious fact: in politics and economics, there is an imbalance that favors women.

During the survey, it was also found that there were almost no policies in news outlets to penalize those who commit harassment. It is hard to recriminate the harasser in such contexts because of the fact that nearly half – 46% of the companies have no channels to report the cases.

Ultimately, the research’s result pointed to naturalization of discriminatory situations in the journalistic environment in detriment of women. Researchers made recommendations and have since started to visit newsrooms to engage journalists and create awareness about the issue. They stress on the need to develop a gender equality policy, create channels to protect female journalists and train their workforce. Abraji also recommends that newsrooms do write about gender issues and harassment suffered by their reporters,  along with depicting a clear correlation on how it impacts freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

Click here to see the report.