|Written by Goga, Farhana|
This research has attempted to answer some of the questions around race, gender and equality in the media industry. The specific focus being the demographic representation of groups in the industry and different job categories, training, benefits and salaries, allocation of assignments, treatment by management and issues of sexual harassment and discrimination. Differences in the demographic distribution and salaries exist. Further, racial and gender differences exist in the opinions of the effectiveness of the practice of affirmative action. Differences also exist in the attitudes towards training, job allocation and treatment by managers.
Since the studies by Manhando (1994) and Jackman (1998), very little has changed. The glass ceiling effect continues. Redressing of race discrimination receives more preference than that of gender discrimination, with affirmative action perceived mainly as applying to black males. The disregard for the multiple roles that women play at home and in the workplace and for the more active roles that some men wish to play in the home continues. Coloureds and Indians continue to feel marginalised. Salary discrimination based on race and gender continues. Companies are, as required by the Equity Act, still in the process of revising their affirmative action policies and utilisation of this research for this purpose, is possible.
In general, black press expressed little problems in affirmative action due to the nature of their employees. All companies in print and broadcasting have few women in senior positions and across fields within the company. New companies however appear to be more active in addressing the discrepancies.
Explanations for all the findings are not possible. Apartheid laws and its residue effects may explain racial discrepancies, while social practices, attitudes and beliefs may explain gender discrimination. Within companies, managers tend to think and evaluate affirmative action implementation more in terms of the institution and focus on policies and overall development. Staff, however, focus on their individual achievement, advancement and recognition within the institution and the content produced to evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation of the policies.
Policies geared towards promotion and training should incorporate the needs expressed by staff, as noted in this report, while maintaining the company’s goal. Thus, practical use of the information revealed in this paper is necessary within companies as well as in the industry in general. This should take the form of workshops and revision of policies to meet the needs expressed.