Amman, Jordan (December 1, 2020) — Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), has published a policy paper on “Women in the Media and the Challenges of Working Remotely in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Feminist Perspective”.
The policy paper, conducted by Jordanian researcher Dr. Lina Jazrawi, examines the reality of the challenges that female journalists faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study assesses the social differences that emerged during the pandemic for both women and men in the media field, and raises questions related to the change in their respective roles which were exposed by the need for remote work.
The paper aims to study the impact of male culture and the way media institutions and their management interact with women in the media during COVID-19. It monitors cultural or social developments that may be indicative of a change in gender roles.
The study concludes that male culture still dominates the Arab mind, and that there is a power imbalance between sexes that emerged clearly during the pandemic –– whether in the institution of marriage, or in the relationship of the owners and directors of media institutions with women in the media. During the period of complete lockdown, the concept of partnership between spouses disappeared. In addition to the burden of fulfilling the maternal and caring roles assigned to women, new tasks were added, such as teaching children in remote study.
The paper also shows that management of institutions still perceive women in the media sector as weaker than men. Accordingly, women in media were not granted permits to cover events during the comprehensive lockdown. This study illustrates that change in the traditional role of women is still slow-moving. The majority of the sampled population revealed that the most important roles for women in the social consciousness are still maternal and marital, and that the jobs women can best complete are centered on caregiving. Only after that is it possible to discuss other practical roles.
Since its inception 15 years ago, ARIJ has trained over 3,000 journalists, media professors and students, and has participated in establishing investigative units in Jordan, Tunisia, Palestine, Yemen, Egypt and Lebanon. ARIJ has also supervised the broadcast/publishing of over 600 investigative reports through international and Pan-Arab TV stations, such as BBC, Al-Jazeera English, DW Arabic and The New Arab, not to mention the fact that ARIJ’s investigative journalism curriculum is being taught at a number of Arabic media schools across the region.
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