Dealing With Sexism & Harassment in the Newsroom
Sexism & Harassment
in the Newsroom
Written by News Gal
🕒 June 3, 2018
I love being a woman.
I love wearing pretty clothes, putting on makeup, and buying a fabulous pair of shoes. I love watching chick flicks, getting a manicure, and baking cookies for my friends.
I love that being a woman allowed me to give birth to my beautiful baby, and that being a woman allows me to nourish her, too.
What I don’t love is that, to some people, being a woman means I’m the “weaker” sex.
I don’t love that it means that some people think it’s OK to whistle at me while I’m walking down the street. I don’t love that, while my body was growing my daughter, some people felt it was OK to tell me how much more voluptuous certain parts of my body had become.
A lot of women experience sexism and sexual harassment in their every day lives. A lot of women also experience these things in the workplace. As a TV news anchor and reporter, I’ve experienced both from my own bosses, colleagues, and from the people I’ve interviewed.
When I walked into my first full-time TV job, I overheard a photographer say, “Oh good, we hired another hottie. At least she’ll look good.”
I chose to ignore the comment, but as time went on, comments continued.
I’ve heard male co-workers suggest to send me on stories, because my skirt would get me interviews. Other times, I’ve heard them suggest not sending me to certain events because I was “too cute.”
Comments like these have followed me throughout my career, and I know I’m not alone.
The worst probably came seconds before a live shot with a very influential political figure in my state. I told him I was his next interview, he looked me up and down, made a disgusting comment with a big smirk on his face, and said “I’m glad they sent you.”
Again, I didn’t do anything about it. I’ve always kind of just assumed it was something I had to deal with as a woman.
But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized it’s not something anyone should have to deal with.
If a co-worker says something to you that makes you uncomfortable, you need to let them know. Tell them their comment made you uncomfortable, and immediately document what happened. Then, make sure you tell your boss what happened.
You need to document everything.
This could create an uncomfortable scenario for you, and the co-worker, when you have a meeting with your boss, but who cares?
If it’s a boss that’s making you uncomfortable, do the same things. Go to HR or your general manager. Make sure you let them know what’s going on.
When you’re out on a story and someone makes a comment that is rude or uncalled for, tell them. Don’t be rude about it, but let them know it’s unacceptable to talk to you that way. Again, document what happened and tell your supervisor.
Being a woman is powerful, but so often that power is overshadowed because so many of us are afraid to speak up.
You are just as good at your job as the guy sitting next to you. You can cover any story your male co-workers are covering. You should never be held back because you’re a woman.
I’m tired of being considered just the “pretty face” on the evening news, and unless we all stand up for ourselves and each other, the sexism and harassment will continue.