The 1987 UNESCO research concluded that equal opportunities were possible only when equality was the basis of an employment policy. This did not mean that the considerations of males and females should be the same, but should rather address the specific needs of the respective genders. The agenda should include issues of health, family, child-care, harassment and rape (UNESCO 1987). Joshi (1987), conducting research in India, advocated training programmes for women and men to dispel the stereotypes in organisations. This would increase the social awareness of both sexes, including recognition of the many different ways of reaching the same conclusion. Structural changes were necessary in the organisation. An orientation to develop healthy attitudes, a consideration for maternity and paternity leave and an awareness of dual roles had to exist. She found that men actually believed that women held a high proportion of senior positions. She therefore expressed the need to make figures available to organisations to dispel these false impressions.
The analysis of women at work and in the media proves that although society has progressed, there is room for improvement and further advancement, especially within the media. This is an ideal time for South Africa to address the gender-related issues raised by other countries and studies. The investigations of the present state of the media in South Africa will not only benefit this country, but will contribute to the world-wide investigation of the state of media and the workplace.
The study by Manhando (1994) concluded that both males and females have to consider and respect their different needs. (There was also a need to investigate if these needs were in fact different). Equality is only possible with the consideration of the specific needs of the individual. Further, women have to be more assertive and men have to change their attitude that their own needs and considerations are the norm. Other recommendations were:
Implement affirmative action policies more effectively;
Allow staff to buy shares into the company;
Train and educate staff;
Implementation of legislation and establishing a quota system; and
A clear sexual harassment policy;
Both Manhando (1994) and Jackman (1998) found that when women were in senior positions, they often felt pressured to mimic traditional male management methods. The interviewees in both studies expressed a need for women to become more assertive.
Employ more women and disadvantaged people in general and specifically in top positions, while being cautious on the way it is done. Women must create opportunities and companies must support these, to enable women to explore how they wish to conduct themselves as managers.
An Indian female journalist (15) reported that she would like to see more women of colour progress in the organisation:
Iíd like to see women of colour actually advance in the company and be given the opportunity to advance because its pointless you trying to prove yourself if you are not recognised, ja, just given opportunities will help. You are supposed to create your own opportunity but the reality is that someone in management has to actually have a hand in it.
A white male editor manager (1) wondered why women leave early and that there was a need to build the organisation rather than just employing people:
I would like to know why women leave so quickly and how to make them stay. Also with affirmative action, we started at the top and I donít think thatís the right way we need to build people up. We also have to establish more training.
A white male editor/manager (17) reported that he would like to see a greater representation across race and gender in the organisation:
I would like to see people progress through the organisation and that we can get a greater representation across race and a 50/50 ratio with regard to gender.
A coloured female journalist (7) expressed that more women and people of colour should be employed in high positions:
At the moment the top structures, the key positions for the decision making, are clearly white. I mean its male and its white. At the lowest level, you have blacks. They (managers) think they are doing well in terms of affirmative action and they arenít. I think we should get more females and black people on higher levels in the company.
A black female journalist (16) said that more women should be employed and the salary discrimination should be addressed. Further, that concession should be made for the different cultural upbringings and people should not be penalised for these differences:
I would like to see more women employed, and for the salaries to be the same. More women must be in senior positions and in positions of power. Because that will change, what I have been educated all my life: that a woman is inferior and the man, superior. I would like to see women from rural areas, but whose interests are in journalism to be given a chance to go to school and get a job. And not for them to be judged as not being confident because her upbringing has caused her to be like that.
A black female journalist (3) expressed that at present there is a strong sense of frustration that has to be addressed:
I think that at present many people feel cheated. We find ourselves in a job and then become frustrated because we donít see any changes happening. The attitude is be grateful that you have this job, this is how things are going to be and your opinion doesnít count and that has to change.
An Indian male journalist and union representative (11) stated that more money should be spent developing black people:
The company should spend more money developing black people compared to what they could possibly spend developing white people. The company needs to award black people more opportunities than they are currently doing Ö need to sit them down and plot their career paths with them Ö thus play more of an active roleÖ they must look at the individual and the needs of that individual.
A white male manager (21) reported that attention must be paid to the research that is done:
Train them properly and be committed to the implementation of suggestions, which does not occur, research is done and swept under the carpet
An Indian female manager (5) expressed that the domestic responsibilities of women must be acknowledged to ensure that they too can progress up the ladder without these worries:
Women arenít given equal opportunities to pursue positions because of domestic responsibilities and training and this has to be addressed.
A coloured female journalist (7) said:
Women must become more assertive.
A coloured female administrator and union representative (4) reported that women and men must learn to adjust:
Women must learn to be more assertive and men must learn to change.
A coloured male administrator (6) said unions must be developed:
Unions have to be stronger and salaries have to be improved.
An Indian male journalist and union representative (11) argued that the company does not provide unions with a voice:
We have been saying as labour that we need to have a seat around the table where decisions are taken, the decisions where the welfare and the direction of the company is decided and at present labour doesnít have a voice there.
An Indian female manager from a small company (15) expressed:
Iíd like things to be approached on a merit basis Ö because when I approach my job I donít think of myself as a woman. I think of myself as a human being, doing my job. Then someone points out "youíre a woman". That offends me .. It shouldnít actually be that way. I am proud that I am a woman but when I am doing a job, you want to be recognised for your job, you know sort of genderless. But that will take a while.
A black male manager (13) discussed:
The Way Forward
I would like to look for people with skill regardless of race and gender...
Based on these and other issues, the following recommendations need addressing:
1.Increase representation of females and people of colour in management positions.
2.Equalise salaries. Further, redress issues of salary distribution in company policies.
3.Somehow, focus on addressing the disillusionment experienced by white staff at present, while simultaneously redressing the past discrimination.
4.Address the marginalisation experienced by Indians and coloureds.
5.Prevent the feeling of entitlement.
6.Provide opportunities for discussions among staff, teaching women to be more assertive and men to change their attitudes. Teach both genders ways to address contentious issues, the role of language and ways to address and reconcile social and domestic issues with careers. Included in this may be the establishment of crŤche facilities, paternity leave and the scheduling of meetings to accommodate school lift clubs.
7.Provide union representatives with time to attend to union matters.
8.Unions can possibly stipulate that their members should continue to contribute to union work after promotion, should unions take up issues of training etc.
9.Provide more training to develop people and move them progressively up the ladder.
10.Provide adequate training for affirmative action appointees.
11.Provide training, such as in language, to broaden the areas into which white reporters can go. This will ensure the development of cultural understanding and reporters will be able to explore a wider range of stories.
12. Ensure that when all journalists enter a dangerous area they have constant contact with the organisation and are properly debriefed on their return.
13. Develop ways in which editing of stories is done so that both journalists and editors understand each othersí view. The message of the story must not be lost while writing skills are developed. This can be achieved via workshops and discussion groups.
14. Discussions between tertiary educators and professionals should occur to address the issues raised, the needs of the organisation and staff.
15. Allow women opportunities to explore how they want to conduct themselves as managers.
By providing equal opportunity, there can be an eventual move towards recruiting and promoting people based purely on skills.