Gender has always been a big factor in what is happening in our society. When we look at our history, it will show to us how gender greatly affects what the society thinks, believes, and follows. Men have always been in a high profile. They took over the lands, held the strongest power, and had the biggest influence. Later on, women slowly emerged in the society. It took them quite some time but eventually they showed that there is something more behind their motherly and calm figures.
Despite how big our society has changed, issues regarding gender equality are still crisp. In the media industry, people always have something to say about men and women journalists. Claims of superiority and greatness are still present. Is there still a gender bias in journalism? Is hard news only for male journalists still? Or have women broke the gender barriers and are already dominating the newsrooms and newspapers?
Comparison between male and female journalists exists even at the smallest details. In an attempt to find out who has written more articles in newspapers and who gets assigned to hard and soft news, the front page articles written in the Philippine Daily Inquirer were examined. Among the four articles on the front page, there was only one article written by a female journalist. She may not have written the banner story for the day (Tuesday, February 16) yet, the length of her article is the same with the three. Each article written by the four was hard news. It was about politics (on elections) and of national concern (ASEAN Summit in the US). In fact, it was the female journalist who wrote the article about the ASEAN Summit held in the United States were President Benigno Aquino III attended.
What has been observed showed that both men and women journalists are now given equal opportunities to have assignments that are not based on who they are. It has been an issue on female journalists that they are always given soft news to cover just because they are women. As observed on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, there was no difference in men’s and women’s assignments. They may have covered different topics, but all their topic were under the hard news. Slowly, the gender barrier built in news media is broken down.
Journalism is changing, and so is the role of women and men in the workplace. The Tuesday issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer might have published more articles written by men but that does not conclude that women are being left behind. Some may still argue that women in the newsroom are still fewer in number than men but one should not forget that we are already in the 21st century. Things can still change and right now, women are starting to make themselves known. We can say that gender bias in newsrooms and newspapers still exists but slowly, it is debunked by the people themselves. K