How women fit into a male dominated career field

From high school journalism to the real world


Photo courtesy of (from top to bottom left to right) Rylee Pledger, Jasmin Kaur, Nora Keely, Valiyah Henry ,Emily Schillip,Camille Owens, Emma Swain, Vivian Lee, Emma Kelly, and Catlin Stintson

Emma Swain, Author

Battlefield high school’s journalism program is brimming with female students. In fact, it would appear as though journalism is dominated by the females of the student body. How is it then, when watching TV or the news, men seem to be the only “diversity” shown to the world. 

It is not uncommon for news channels to have men in top positions. Out of the six major news television companies in the US, four of them have men as CEOs, and the other two, Fox News and ABC News, have female CEOs. As for major newspaper companies in the US, five out of the six have men as CEOs. Even with the high number of girls enrolling in high school and college journalism, why is it so hard to see a woman in a high level position? 

The line at which journalism is no longer a high school class filled with female students but a career with powerful men in top positions has to be crossed somewhere. Former Battlefield journalism student and current journalism major at JMU, Rebecca Custinger, says, “My class is a 180 person lecture and there are a significant number of guys, but I still would say that it is majority female.” She does mention that JMU is a predominantly female school and that in the Breeze, the school’s publication, there are also guys, but that the top positions are held primarily by girls. 

It is also adamant that females are capable of holding positions within the journalism field. There are plenty of female writers and editors who work behind the scenes to put out content for a news company, and there are even female TV hosts who work alongside male co hosts. However, it can present itself to the viewers as though they are shadowing their co host, being brushed aside by the public, or forced into a loony facade. 

When asked about the role women play in journalism, Custinger says, “The most common female reporters we see are beautiful female sports reporters because men want to see beautiful women talk about sports, but then are those women in those roles really being taken seriously?” She also explains how she feels as though these women are put on TV to stir up drama and that overall it creates a poor image for women in journalism. She continues with, “I do think it makes women compare themselves and their physical appearance to what they see, and it makes women question whether or not they are up to par based on their appearance instead of comparing their skills and ability to be ethical journalists.” She believes that the women in journalism are created by the industry and not by what the viewers want. 

The line at which women are no longer accepted in journalism is crossed well beyond high school and college. The inequality and stigmas women face in their day to day lives and careers will most likely never go away. For centuries, women have been mistreated and ridiculed for simply living. It is not too much, though, to be hopeful that maybe one day, just one day, women can be praised and accepted for simply being women.