British Journo: Glass Ceiling "Long Since Shattered"S

Even if there used to be one in the news biz, writes Jane Moore in the Independent, "there certainly isn't any more." Hmm, let's see how she backs that assertion up, shall we?

Argument 1: "There are more female journalists – and senior ones, too – than ever before, permeating all genres of the industry from newspapers, radio and television to online." As opposed to 20 years ago, when Moore was the only female Royal correspondent, prior to which she was "surrounded by dozens of irascible, middle-aged men and all too few women." Is it just me, or does "more than ever before" become a somewhat less heartening quantity when you consider that not very long ago, the number of women in the industry was "practically none"?

Argument 2: One exceptional woman is proof that sexism is dead. Rebekah Brooks, first female editor of The Sun, was recently promoted to CEO of News International, ergo, there is not one remaining shard of glass ceiling. QED.

Argument 3: The jobs are there for the ladies' taking, but the ladies won't take 'em!

Yet while there will undoubtedly be many opportunities over the coming years for women to snap up even more senior posts as electronic media proliferates and the "newspaper" industry expands its business via various multimedia formats, the burning question is: will we take them?

Some will, but many won't. I know this from personal experience.

When Moore was offered a job as a deputy editor in her early thirties, she turned it down because she was a single mom. Thus the relative lack of women in senior positions in the industry is clearly a result of everyone else making the same decision. (And as we all know, balancing work and motherhood has squat to do with sexism in general or sexist hiring practices in particular!)

Argument 4: Female columnists like Moore ("I have been The Sun's 'Glenda' – the pejorative tag given to female columnists by the male-dominated Private Eye – for 14 years now") are increasing in number, no longer expected to eschew political commentary in favor of "soft issues," and making an important connection with readers, even if "some may not deem the job description powerful." They're also "highly paid," though she doesn't say compared to whom — editors? CEOs? Oh, hush, you. They're connecting with readers!

Conclusion:

I have no doubt we'll see the number of women influential in journalism swell even more over the next couple of decades. But if there is no increase in those occupying senior editorial positions, or even fewer as time goes by, it will be through their own personal choice and nothing to do with a glass ceiling that has long since been shattered.

Oh, OK then. Never mind that earlier in this same piece you said Rebekah Brooks was responsible for breaking it, and she only became editor of The Sun in 2003 and CEO of News International this month. Long since shattered, people! And never mind that you only name a handful of other women working at anywhere near the same level as Brooks — there are only a few because everyone else chose to raise kids and write columns! It's just that simple! Personal experience tells us so!

About that. I e-mailed this article to a friend of mine who's an editor at a major newspaper, and she replied:

"I don't know what her personal experience is, but as long as I'm still being swatted on the ass and called sweetheart, among other things, I'm going to stay away from sweeping statements like 'the glass ceiling is gone.'"

Or, as another lady editor friend put it when I merely read her the headline: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

‘If there was a glass ceiling, there certainly isn't anymore' [The Independent]