Women in the Media (WiM) is being launched tonight.
The national initiative, driven by high-profile female journalists including Tracey Spicer (pictured), aims at achieving true equality for women in the media through mentoring, networking and an industrial campaign.
Spicer, Sky News anchor and Fairfax and Hoopla columnist, told The Newsroom she had experienced “a lot sexism over the years” and was passionate about turning it around.
“There have been great advances in women’s rights in recent decades,” she said.
“But, although the majority of media employees are women, we predominantly occupy low-paid roles.
“There are very few who break through the glass ceiling.”
WiM has the support of the Media Entertainment and Arts alliance (MEAA) and is based on a successful networking group that has operated in WA for eight years. It has drawn together a group of senior Sydney-based female journalists alongside Spicer, including ABC TV presenter Caroline Jones, Fairfax investigative journalist Kate McClymont, Private Media publishing director Marina Go, former Sydney Morning Herald editor Amanda Wilson and News Corp columnist Angela Mollard.
They will facilitate formal mentoring to female colleagues in a bid to reduce workplace inequity, combat bullying and give support and advice.
“We are offering a group of strong, powerful, and successful women as mentors,” Spicer said.
“The networking events will help to create a girls’ club to rival the boys’ club. And the union will be pushing for equal pay, superannuation during parental leave, and more transparency.”
Spicer said every woman she knew working in the media felt her position was “precarious”.
“It’s a challenging time in the industry,” she said.
“And some bosses, even in this day and age, prefer to hang on to men because they’re the breadwinner in their family.”
WiM will be launched to a sold-out audience tonight at The Bon Marche Studio, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, at 6pm.
Spicer has encouraged all women in the media to join the campaign.
“I have the most wonderful groundswell of support, from women of all ages,” she said.
“Many said, ‘We went through a similar thing. You have given us a voice to speak out against it’. There has been much improvement in recent years but there’s still a long way to go.” – Jacquellene Boateng and Fiona West