Skillset is the Sector Skills Council for Creative Media. Their research over the last decade has shown a gender imbalance in the sector, and things aren’t changing. 5000 women left the TV industry between 2006-2009, compared with 750 men, and that men in TV earn on average £6500 more than women per year.
Women reported the difficulty of combining a freelance career in the media with raising a family due to "uncertain and long hours, unpredictable timing of contracts and so forth" (‘Women in the Creative Media Industries’). This has led to many women giving up their freelance work early on in their careers, leaving a gap in the kinds of work that suit freelancing, for example production roles.
A larger study, although into journalism alone, was carried out by the Global Media Monitoring Project, researching news coverage from 108 countries. ‘Who Makes the News’ showed that women are "significantly underrepresented and misrepresented" in media coverage. Aidan White, the General Secretary at the International Federation of Journalists, expressed his concern that:
"[b]ias in the portrayal of women and men in news content has a detrimental impact on the public’s perception of gender roles in society" (‘IFJ Calls on Unions to Confront Crisis of Gender Bias in the News’).
So as well as having concern for equality in terms of women’s working lives, salaries and wellbeing, we should also, quite rightly, be worried about the effect that a gender bias in the media has on society’s understanding of women’s roles.
Of course gender inequality is rife in many sectors, and this is not a new issue. Initiatives are coming out of the woodwork however, for example the local ‘Women in Media’ in Sussex, started in 2005, which aims to increase and support women working in
the digital media industry in Sussex. Also check out the support Skillset.org has developed for women, through mentoring schemes, bursaries and masterclasses.