2008: Volume 1, Issue 1 (Inaugural Issue), pp. 123-136

Feminist Approaches to Journalism Studies: Canadian Perspectives

Gertrude J. Robinson



One of the orthodoxies of communication scholarship is that much of the gender-based differences between males and females with regard to experiences in newsrooms can be attributed to demographics. The discussion presented in this paper challenges this claim by comparing the findings of two national surveys that measured the professional progress of Canadian press and television journalists. The first survey was undertaken in 1975, and the second in 1995. While the historical evidence points to reductions in gender-based structural inequalities over time, it also identifies the continued presence of gender-based assumptions about how work and family obligations should be combined. Such assumptions, it is argued, help to foster and reproduce systemic biases in the newsroom culture that still resonate today in the journalism profession and which can be best understood as a manifestation of the meaning of gender at three levels: as a classifying system, as a structuring structure, and as an ideology.



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