Journalists’ Charity Ambassadors on International Women’s Day

2 March, 2023

On International Women’s Day (March 8)  Women in Journalism and Reach revealed the findings of their first Online Harms survey.

Speakers included Alison Phillips and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown  –  Journalists’ Charity Ambassadors. Visit our full list of Ambassadors here.

Download the findings HERE 

Summary and Recommendations 

Online harm is an interpretive issue and individuals respond differently when faced with online harm depending on a number of factors. However, this report makes it clear that without decisive action to support staff and freelance contributors, there is a real risk that women working in journalism and media will leave their roles or choose to fade into the background online. The research shows the ‘chilling effect’, as identified globally by UNESCO on the voices and activities of women working in journalism and the media is being significantly felt in the UK.

Participants also referred to inconsistencies in how employers, managers and authorities such as the police responded to online harms. In an industry attempting to be more inclusive and with a government attempting to secure a safer internet, the issues highlighted in this report suggest there is still significant work to be done to make online spaces safer for women working in journalism and media.

The comments provided by participants also highlighted a frustration about the lack of accountability of social media platforms but also suggested a sense of resignation – many participants alluded to online harm being ‘part of the job’ and suggested there was little that could be done by individuals when social platforms refused to take action.

The low incidence of women reporting online harm related to their ethnicity or sexual orientation suggests that Women of Colour and women who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual may have been underrepresented in the survey, as the outcomes did not align with other research findings.

Coverage ( 8/3/2023)

Newsworks: Survey reveals 75% of women journalists have experienced a threat to their safety

The Media Leader: Three-quarters of women journalists ‘experienced threat to safety’

InPublishing: Women in Journalism and Reach reveal survey results

Press Gazette: Online abuse toll means fifth of women journalists considered leaving industry

Newsworks: 10 minutes with… Dr Rebecca Whittington, online safety editor, Reach

Hold the Front Page: One in four women journalists face sexual violence or harassment, study reveals