The level of online abuse, editorial, ethnic, age and gender discrimination, as well as increased domestic chores loaded on female journalists during the pandemic, are just a few of the areas that a major survey launched this week by Women In Journalism will be investigating.

The survey sent out WIJ’s 900+ members and to 30,000 subscribers to the PR and communications company, CISION, aims to find answers to how the lives of women in the profession have changed, whether or not they have more power in editorial decision-making, whether the use by media organisations of female experts has grown or decreased and what the impact of the pandemic has been on women.

WIJ is the UK’s leading campaigning, networking and training organisation for female journalists and mentors over 100 journalists a year and runs online and real events with high- profile women in the media. Its chair, Daily Mirror editor Alison Phillips, said she felt now was precisely the right time to examine the changes – for better or worse – in the professional lives of female journalists.

She said : “There has rarely been a more important time for good journalism. And yet the pressures on journalism – particularly for women – continue to grow.  This survey will give us a deeper understanding of what’s really going on in the UK media and how best we can support those journalists working within it.” 

The survey, created in partnership with the strategic ideas company, Man Bites Dog and business research organisation, Coleman Parkes is targeted at journalists working in all areas and levels of the industry.

At its heart is the desire, on the part of WIJ, to tease out the priorities for women, their concerns about returning to work after having children and anxieties around online abuse, workplace harassment, pay, career progression, job security – and the future of the industry.

Questions on discrimination – around ethnicity, age, gender and disability – and whether media organisations monitor diversity are at the core of the survey. Is there pressure on journalists from ethnically diverse backgrounds to write from an “ethnic minority” perspective, and do journalists with a disability need to do considerable groundwork to make their employers aware of their needs? Is there still a tendency to relegate female journalists to “soft” news stories, leaving “hard” news, strategy and policy to the boys?

The findings and insights from the survey will cast a spotlight on the lives of women journalists in the UK today, and the data will be used by WIJ to determine the top priorities and issues in journalism and feed into its panel events and training workshops.

Said Phillips: “Women journalists, in particular, have had a tough time during the pandemic and we are committed to delivering for them – whoever and wherever they are, financially secure or trying to make a living in an uncertain world.  The world has changed, as have the needs of women, and WIJ is all about delivering what they need. 

“Maybe they are more relaxed about combining work and children and maybe they are more hopeful that now journalism won’t be so concentrated in and around London. But the hurdles faced by women wanting to succeed in the industry still exist and we need to know what they are – and how we can overcome them.”

Please complete the survey HERE 

The survey is also promoting the Journalists’ Charity First Job Fund . 

Starting a new job in journalism can be expensive and challenging, especially if you’re burdened with debt from your studies. The Journalists’ Charity’s First Jobs Fund is designed to offer support as you start your career, helping you focus on what matters – being a great journalist during these challenging times.