NEW DELHI, Jul 23: The Indian Journalists Union ( IJU) has joined the International Federation of Journalists and its gender council’s call to media organizations and trade unions to make gender equality a priority in their response to the pandemic and demand concrete steps to provide their female colleagues with decent working conditions.
This follows a new survey by the IFJ wherein “more than half of women journalists have experienced increased gender inequalities due to Covid-19 in the industry, with devastating consequences on their conciliation of work and private life (62 percent), work responsibilities (46 percent) and salaries (27 percent).
The survey conducted among 558 women journalists, among whom 66 percent were union members in 52 countries, also revealed that as a result of the pandemic:
o Over 3/4 of respondents saw their level of stress increase, half of them pointing at multiple tasking as the main cause;
o More than half of the respondents said their health had been affected which resulted for almost 3/4 of them in sleeping problems;
o Only four in 10 women journalists claimed they received protective equipment from their employers;
o More than half of the respondents claim unions have not developed any specific strategies to tackle gender inequalities during the pandemic;
o 60 percent said their industry had provided some form of protocol for teleworking;
o More than 3/4 of respondents said the level of harassment (including online) and bullying have not increased during the crisis;
o A third of respondents claimed they worked “mainly from home” and another third has worked mainly in the office. Fifteen percent worked mostly in the field;
o Respondents listed diverse reasons as causes of stress, including working in isolation, bullying from bosses, family caring and home schooling, domestic tensions, increased workload and the usual tight deadlines, long working hours, psychological impact of Covid-19 coverage, fear of job loss.
Respondents made concrete recommendations for improving tele-working protocols, such as the need for employers to provide adequate working equipment, including bandwidth, define working hours and breaks, and understand reality of working from home while caring for children.
Over 2/3 of respondents pointed at the negative impact of media funding cuts on the industry’s gender strategies.
Respondents denounced the focus on profit and competition which would exclude work on gender and change media priorities and the most precarious situation of women which make them most affected by social plans and paid less.
Overall, most respondents agreed that the best strategies to achieve a gender equal new normal were economic in nature: more funding, better salaries, more opportunities for career advancements.