Celebrating Female Journalists: 50 years of changes in the treatment of women in the industry
In 1972, journalists were thrust into an environment of harassment, exclusion, and a toxic culture of forced secrecy. When applied to female journalists, it’s to no avail that the original trailblazers entering the workforce experienced an onslaught of unimaginable obstacles. Through their persistent demands for equitable representation and history-defining protests, the women in journalism across the last fifty years have built the foundation and landscape of contemporary journalism.
When Gair Rhydd was founded in September 1972; women could be legally discriminated against at work, there were no black female UK parliamentary representatives, only through a male guarantor were women granted mortgages, and contraception was yet to become available through the NHS. Pioneers like Sarah Jane Rees, Wales’s first female editor of a women’s magazine, and Ursula Masson, a South Wales journalist who demanded recognition for the forgotten writing of Welsh women across history, acted as role models and curators of the material which we digest today.
Although the changing millennia trademarked a period of technological innovation and enterprise, the plight of female journalists remained stagnated in the past
By the time Gair Rhydd became digitalised in 2001, the recognition of same-sex marriage and the abolition of Section 28 was yet to occur. Although the changing millennia trademarked a period of technological innovation and enterprise, the plight of female journalists remained stagnated in the past. On reflection, it appears trivial that a large demography of citizens who were being affected by change had no input in commentating on such discourse.
Throughout this complex history of the fight for women’s rights, female journalists have voiced the concerns and anger of communities, fighting to defend all identities across sexuality, gender, class, race, and ability. When consistently scrutinised in comparison to their male counterparts, a critique prevalent in fervent realms of modern journalism, female journalists are expected to be twice as great as men for half of the credit – reduced unimaginably further for women of colour.
Journalism is a workforce which acts as agents to the public and persistently strives to bring justice.
The long journey for equitable respect within newsrooms is an obstacle which all marginalised genders are attempting to navigate. Whilst it’s empirical to reflect on the past success of culture-defining trailblazers, the deficiencies in modern reporting must be directly extinguished to continue past feminist efforts. Journalism is a workforce which acts as agents to the public and persistently strives to bring justice. In looking forward to the next fifty years in the industry, action must continue to empower and uplift the creative products of all gender identities, facilitating change-making and developing the potential of young creatives.