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Few women rise to top jobs in media, survey shows

The media may be quick to castigate other industries for sexism in the workplace but new research suggests that it should be getting its own house in order.

A survey by the Fawcett Society has found that women are vastly under represented in national news rooms across Britain. Both in newspapers and broadcast media, females are making few of the crucial editorial decisions or determining the agenda when it comes to current affairs and politics.

Analysis of most key national daily and Sunday newspapers found that only two out of 17 (12 per cent) editors were women, including Rebekah Wade at the Sun, while all 17 deputy editors surveyed were men and just one out of 10 comment editors was female. While the public face of television and radio appeared balanced, behind the scenes the power still remained in the hands of men.

Fifteen out of 34 (44 per cent) of regular presenters of the leading news programmes were women and 37.5 per cent of those presenting political programmes were female. Yet, editorial decisions for these programmes were being made almost exclusively by men (only one out of 17 6 per cent of editors at TV and radio news programmes were women). On political programmes female editors fared better but still only represented 22 per cent of those surveyed.

Commenting on the research, Katherine Rake, director of the Fawcett Society, said: "Today's survey shows that the media is missing out on the huge pool of female talent ... Women need to play an equal role in setting the political agenda, both in parliament itself and within the political media."