No one should be surprised by journalism’s sexual harassment problem

tags: journalism, sex scandals, sexual harassment

Kathryn J. McGarr, a historian and assistant professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin, is author of "The Whole Damn Deal: Robert Strauss and the Art of Politics."

Remember when it was just Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly? Over the past month, the news media has been central to the country’s weekly installments of Men Behaving Badly. We’ve seen the fall of the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, political commentator Mark Halperin, Charlie Rose of PBS and CBS, the New Republic’s Leon Wieseltier, the New York Times’s Glenn Thrush, NBC’s Matt Lauer and more.

Women in media — as in all industries in which the power structure is predominantly male — are not surprised. Almost half of women journalists globally have experienced work-related sexual harassment, and two-thirds have experienced “intimidation, threats or abuse,” according to a 2014 survey done by the International Women’s Media Foundation. (Yes, 2014 — three years ago.)

How did we get here?

The news media — an industry in which, especially in Washington and New York City, the social and professional lives of powerful people are inseparable — has a storied history of men belittling women and excluding them from access to power. Well into the 1970s, women operated at a disadvantage, excluded from key events and spaces and condescended to by their peers.

The Washington press corps played an essential part in silencing women’s voices and perpetuating misogyny, two ideas we still see deeply intertwined in society. As one female Washington reporter wrote to a colleague in 1954, “It is in an unfortunate truth that the chief discrimination against women reporters in Washington today is practiced by men reporters. Our male colleagues remain the most resistant to accepting us as equals.” ...

Read entire article at The Washington Post

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