The Monash Arts School of Media, Film & Journalism in partnership with Australia intercultural society (AIS) organised a panel to discuss women in media on 8 November 2017 at Monash Law Chamber. Co-hosted by the two institutions, the collaboration invited panellists Laurel Irving from Channel 7 and Wendy Tuohy from the Herald Sun, along with moderator Karen Percy from ABC, to contribute to a conversation on how to tackle the long-term opportunities and challenges faced by women in media.
Women continue to face barriers because of the continued gender imbalance in senior leadership roles, something that is particularity prevalent in the media industry. Laurel, Wendy and Karen shared lessons from their extensive experience in their respective media fields. Laurel and Wendy highlighted the ways in which women could combine forces to amplify their voices in fighting against these challenges, and provided plenty of first-hand examples of ‘mansplaining' and ‘manterruption'.
All three panellists emphasised the importance of strategic interpersonal relationships, direct communication and speaking with authority in order to be heard. They agreed that women need to work as a collective, but that men also have a role to play as champions of change in addressing the sexist and discriminatory behaviours experienced by women in the media.
The event was open to alumni, staff, students and the general public. The Q & A prompted a wider and vibrant discussion from those present, including professional and philanthropic community leaders, many feeling it was a safe space to share their own experiences of discrimination and to seek advice from the panellists.
Thanks to Xintong Lu (Coco) for her help with this article.