Having women in management is one of the key issues that must be studied closely. The number of women managers and women editors in chief could be a good topic to study. It is not really difficult to get into the details of the depressing share of women in media management in Iran.
According to statistics of Iran’s Islamic Guidance and Culture Ministry, up to September 2009 Iran had 8044 journalists, 3455 women and 4589 men. A sum of 1645 of those 3455 women journalists were working in the Iranian capital Tehran. But how many of these women were working at positions of editors in chief, editors, managers of magazines and newspapers?
Tehran-e Emrouz (Today Tehran) newspaper could be a good example. This newspaper has four sections does not have any women managers and only two pages are managed by women. Etemad Melli (National Trust) newspaper had eight sections and only one woman editor in chief before it was closed down by the government. Apart from Etemad (Trust) newspaper, which had 4 desk editors out of 8 desk editors, other newspapers do not enjoy much better and equal situation in this term.
Glass Roof for Women Managers
It cannot be any easier to get an idea how men are running the Iranian media. The simplest way is to brows Persian newspapers and to have a look at the name of the editors and managers of the published newspapers. Simply put men are in the majority to hold the higher positions.
There is no written law that prevents women from taking high positions in newspapers and magazines. However, there is a glass roof above women’s head that does not let them grow in managing positions. If reporters ask senior managers how come women are not appointed to higher positions, managers only one reasoning: appointment to such positions is based on the candidates’ capabilities. Such reasoning only implies that women are not capable of handling such positions. A woman journalist argues such mentality and says: “the sad fact that senior managers cannot see women’s capability reflects the Iranian society’s mentality. I even came across managers that use the newsroom working hours as an excuse to prevent women from holding higher positions. Quite the reverse, my women colleagues have always been ready to stay longer at work or go on assignments. How come when it comes to management they worry about working hours? They’d rather employ people based on their political background. As a result, they end up hiring so men politicians instead of women journalists.
Political and Manly Management
A report by Islamic Guidance and Culture, which was released during the reformist administration in Iran, evidences that the dominant ambiance of the media in Iran is in favor of men and of course it is at its most political. The report covers years 1995 to 1999:
“The cultural and media structure of the country is masculine. Since the media ambiance in press and media is a political ambiance, and women are not taken as seriously as men, decision makings and management are mostly in hands of men. Gender-based discrimination is observed very obviously.”
The report goes on to mention that in the year 1999 no woman was an editor in chief in any of the Iranian newspapers. Ironically after ten years nothing has changed yet.
The report also suggests: “newsrooms and larger press have a considerably masculine ambience. Women do not enjoy many responsibilities in management level and in decision makings. No woman is an editor in chief in any newspapers and only four women were desk editors.”
The report, however, does mention the increasing number of staff and journalists in the Iranian media and press as well as publishing industry. Parallel to all discriminations going on against women, we must say that the number of women in the humanitarian press and magazines is way higher than other women staff in magazines specialized in other areas. As a result the number of women editors and editors in chief is higher in this field.Reported by Atefeh Amiri
Translated by Rose Arjmand