Jessica Ellis
March 06, 2016 10:14 am
AMC

You might think that Australian women have it easy; after all, their country is known for sunshine and friendly people. Unfortunately, a new study reveals that women in media in Australia face another pervasive, defining trend: sexual harassment. According to the findings of a Women in Media survey, about half of women in media-related professions faced harassment in the workplace.

Women in Media, an advocacy group that conducted the study of 1054 journalists throughout the country, isn’t particularly surprised by the results. “Progress towards equality for women in media is disappointingly slow,” Tracey Spicer, the national convener for Women in Media, told Forbes.

While the full report has not yet been released, some of the results of the survey are trickling out, and they’re pretty awful. Among the findings were some truly unpleasant results:

-48% of women said they’d experienced abuse or harassment on the job.

-41% reported harassment through social media related to their job, from trolling up to death threats.

-About a quarter reported being discriminated against for taking maternity leave.

The survey also found significant signs of a pay gap, backed up by another recent study by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency which showed gaps up to 23% for equal work. Further, many Australian women revealed that workplace policies on harassment are either ineffective or non-existent, with only 11% of respondents rating their workplace rules as “very effective.”

Spicer also pointed out that even for the Australian women who survive in a frequently toxic workplace, the deck is still stacked against them. “While there are more women than ever before working in the industry, they still dominate the lower paid, less powerful positions. The media is often called a mirror of society. But it is failing to reflect our diversity. I believe men still make up 90% of sports reporters.”

While the statistics are depressing any way you look at them, it’s important to remember that they are part of the mechanism of change. Increased reporting on diversity and harassment can only serve to shine light on a problem that some people still don’t believe in, but the evidence is getting overwhelming: Gender discrimination in the workplace is a real problem, a global issue, and one that needs to change now.

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