Every person has the right to freedom of investigation, of opinion, and of the expression and dissemination of ideas, by any medium whatsoever.
American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man
"Women Journalists and Newsrooms," a report on the situation faced by women journalists in the Americas.
October 19, 2022
Washington D.C. - The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression (SRFOE) of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) presents its report "Women Journalists and Newsrooms: Advances, Challenges and Recommendations to Prevent Violence and Combat Discrimination," which analyzes the situation faced by women journalists and media workers within their newsrooms and in the exercise of their profession in the Americas.
Women in the region face structural obstacles and discriminatory practices that exclude them from public debate and prevent them from fully and effectively enjoying their right to freedom of expression. The impact of these discriminatory practices and forms of gender-based violence is particularly severe in the case of women journalists, who vigorously and actively exercise their freedom of expression while maintaining a high public profile.
In this context and recognizing the risk situation faced by women journalists and the leading role of media companies in eradicating and/or addressing these practices, this report highlights some patterns of discrimination against women journalists in newsrooms that prevent them from starting and exercising their profession under equal conditions. This report highlights the main advances and challenges in relation to patterns of gender-based discrimination such as occupational segregation as a result of stereotypes and existing patterns in the assignment of tasks and activities, wage gaps and job insecurity, and the various obstacles to accessing management and decision-making positions compared to their male colleagues within their newsrooms and in the exercise of their profession in the Americas.
On the other hand, through its report, the SRFOE emphasizes the specific and risks due to a double vulnerability for exercising journalistic work and for their gender. At the same time, it makes visible the inequalities and accentuated risks experienced by some groups of women journalists due to the intersection of multiple identities associated with factors such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
The report also concludes that various situations of gender-based violence, particularly those related to sexual violence, sexual harassment, intimidation, and abuse of power experienced by women journalists by sources of information, male colleagues and hierarchical superiors tend to be naturalized within the newsrooms, which discourages reporting and encourages the repetition of these events. In view of this, the report includes a series of guidelines and recommendations addressed to media companies so that they may adopt strategic measures and actions that will allow them to move forward and address the challenges that persist in this area.
Finally, this Office emphasizes that the preparation of the Report included a public consultation carried out by the Office of the Special Rapporteur aimed at receiving input from various stakeholders, including Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS), civil society organizations, academia, international organizations, and other relevant actors. In addition, a series of consultations were held with experts in the region, and technical support was received from the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Women of the IACHR.
The SRFOE hopes that this Report on "Women Journalists and Newsrooms" will be an instrument that contributes to the advancement and consolidation of inter-American standards, as well as to the strengthening of processes and initiatives carried out by the Office in this area. As the IACHR and its SRFOE have pointed out, it is necessary that the media adopt a gender perspective in their work, since they play an important role in making visible and eradicating stereotypes, prejudices and biased attitudes towards women due to their gender.
The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression (SRFOE) is an office created by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to encourage the hemispheric defense of the right to freedom of thought and expression, considering its fundamental role in the consolidation and development of the democratic system.
Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
1889 F St. NW
Washington D.C. 20006
Telephone: +1 202 370 0816
Banner: Design by Miki Fernández
Official Photo: Juan Manuel Herrera, OAS