WOMAN AND LEADERSHIP IN TURKEY'S NEWS MEDIA
ASSOC. PROF. Aysel Çetinkaya
Although it is said that leaders are not born but made; there are barriers to women’s placement in leadership positions in various sectors based on social, cultural and gender-based reasons. According to the Global Gender Gap Report (2022), while recruitment of women for leadership roles has increased, the numbers are still significantly low. Between 2016 and 2022, the share of women employed in leadership positions rose from %33,3 to %36,9. On a global scale, the proportion of women in leadership roles is %31. The sectors which have the highest number of women in leadership roles are non-governmental and membership organisations (%47), education (%46), personal services and well-being (%45) while the lowest numbers are found in energy (%20), manufacturing (%19) and infrastructure (%19). The report indicates that the rate of women leaders in the media and communication sector is %37. In the report which assesses 146 countries, Turkey takes the 124th place in terms of gender inequality. In the section, “Economic Participation and Opportunities,” Turkey is ranked 132nd in labour-force participation rate, 94th in wage equality for similar work, 127th in estimated earned income over 1,000 dollars, 120th in legislators, senior officials and managers, 100th in professional and technical workers. These numbers point out that Turkey’s policies are not sufficient for creating equal opportunities and closing gender gaps in professional life.
Although there are not any legal obstacles against women in professional life, men are perceived in such a way that they are considered to carry the essential features of a manager in comparison to women. Certain traditional and socio-cultural factors which create this illusion also build a “glass ceiling” which holds women back resulting in an unproportional representation of men in the key managerial roles in various sectors. As these sectors also include media and communication, the insufficient ratio of the female employment rate brings about the exclusion of women’s perspective from the media and the formation of media outputs as well as popular culture in line with the patriarchal power relations and ways of thinking. In order to change the monotonous publishing policies, diversity-based hiring policies are necessary.
It is both symbolically and practically important to ask who decides what is newsworthy and what is not. Being a media owner or taking a role in top management positions in a newsroom indicates the representative power of both the organisation and the sector in addition to having power and influence over media. The persons who take leadership and management roles in the news media do not only shape the news and the newsrooms, they also determine how the masses are supposed to perceive journalism (Griffin, 2014; Duffy 2019). Therefore, it is significant to reveal who these people are. One aspect of this examination consists of the gender of the people who are either media owners or employed in the top management positions in a newsroom. Studies reveal that there is a difference between the newsrooms managed by women and the ones managed by men in terms of the interpretation of and time separated for the news (Beam & Di Cicco, 2010; Shor vd., 2015; Byerly & McGraw 2020).
Based on the above-mentioned information, this report aims to identify the gender of media owners, chairpersons and senior managers in the media companies which are active in Turkey. Main findings of this study which examines 782 media institutions in total are as follows:
- Among the TV channels examined in this study, the owners and chairpersons of all these are male whereas the top managers are &73,84 male and %26,15 female.
- The owners and chairpersons of daily national newspapers are %91,6 male, %8,3 female while the senior managers in the newsrooms are %87,91 male and %12,08 female.
- The owners and chairpersons of radio channels are %92,30 male and %7,69 female while the editors in chief are %76,92 male and %2,07 female.
- The owners and chairpersons of online newspapers are %92,30 male and %7,69 female while the senior managers in the newsrooms are %90,32 male and %9,67 female.
- The owners and chairpersons of magazines are %65 male and %35 female whereas the senior managers in the newsrooms are %41,30 male and %58,69 female. In the media sector, journals hold the highest ratio of women in top management positions.
- The publishers of local newspapers consist of %82 males and %18 females. The senior managers in the local newsrooms are %72,48 male and %27,51 female.
Assoc. Prof. Aysel Çetinkaya
Assoc. Prof. Aysel Çetinkaya worked as a Research Assistant at Kocaeli University, Faculty of Communication, Advertising Department between 2013-2017, and as an Assistant Professor in the Journalism Department of the same faculty between 2017-2021. Currently working as an Associate Professor in the same department, Çetinkaya’s academic interests include media economy, online journalism, digital marketing and social media.