We must fight for gender equality and never give up the fight!

The Trade Union of Croatian Journalists and Croatian Journalists’ Association hosted a major European meeting on gender equality and diversity in the European Audiovisual sector.

There is no equality, the audiovisual sector – especially film, television and production is a men’s world and this situation must be changed urgently. That is the general conclusion of the two panels and discussion.

Gender equality

The EU funded project “Achieving Gender Equality and promoting diversity in the European Audiovisual Sector” reveals that women represent 39% of the global workforce, but are only represented with 27% in managerial positions. The pay gap between women and men in Europe is a worrying 20%, while the pension gap is as high as 37% in favour of men.

When it comes to women media workers, 2/3 of them have experienced some form of online abuse or harassment at least once. On average, women receive three times more abusive comments on social networks than their male counterparts.

When it comes to film and production, the data for Croatia is devastating. Of the 209 films made between 1990 and 2018, only five women have worked as cinematographers, and only 15 have been directors. “The only place where women are in the vast majority, 189 of them, are in the field of costume design, because it is a difficult and poorly paid job”, said Katarina Zrinka Matijević of the Croatian Film Directors’ Guild. The presence of women in the Croatian Film industry

The situation is no better in European film production. When analyzing how many female directors have participated with their films at eminent festivals the numbers are catastrophic. Cannes – only 7%, Berlin 11%, Venice 11% and Pula 5%

“Film production is a men’s world. When it comes to money in Balkans, there are always two men making deals in dark rooms”, described the situation Dario Vince of the Croatian Independent Producers Association.

“I’m sick and tired of explaining and warning men that women are unequal in the audiovisual sector! It is especially worrying that our students are not here today and that they show no interest in this topic”, warned actress Lana Barić from the Croatian Society of Film Workers, adding that although she is tired, the fight for equality must continue and should not be abandoned.

A professor at the Faculty of Political Science, Viktorija Car, referred to a study she had conducted with partners on the representation of women in television news. In the case of Croatia, it appears that women are only 8% represented in television news. The finding is particularly interesting in the context of the fact that in Croatia journalism is predominantly a women’s profession.

Women in TV news

“The female voice is not heard in the media. Gender equality must be practiced. We must make women journalist aware that she is a women journalist, not a men journalist. We have the case of a television company that uses only male gender in its signatures. In the newsrooms, we have to mentor young journalists on equality, conferences held once or twice a year are not enough”, she said.

A television journalist and member of the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists Elizabeta Gojan warned about sexism in the media, where women are portrayed as exclusively sexualized and stereotypical, and even in some cases criticized in media reports for being victims of violence and rape. “The first step is to change the legislation, and then we need to raise awareness about gender equality”, she believes.

She also drew attention to the subordinate position of female journalists in Croatia. “Sexism is institutionalized in Croatia. We ask for a higher salary, but we don’t get it. Sometimes it is not a question of a higher salary but of a better position in the newsroom, and women are usually uncomfortable asking for anything because they are raised in a society that expects them to be kind and unobtrusive. So go and do it, ask and ask, if we, like our male counterparts, reported from the battlefields, floods, why would they be paid higher than us”, she said.

Nevenka Sudar, Media advisor to the Ombudsperson for Gender Equality, warned that women are regularly represented in the media in the categories of health and beauty, showbusiness, cooking, fashion, childcare, while in politics, economics, justice, foreign policy they are underrepresented.

Gender Equality and Diversity in the Media

She emphasized that the way media represent women is one of the factors of raising awareness of gender equality and can contribute to the prevention of discrimination. “We should not be ashamed to admit that we need education. This is the only way we can achieve gender equality”, she concluded.

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