The Status of Women News Journalists in Lebanese Television: A Field-Gender Approach

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Mady, Christy Elie




This dissertation examines the status of women in the Lebanese television newsroom using the field theory proposed by Bourdieu, gender theory in relation to journalism studies and the concept of the glass ceiling. Women’s newsroom positions, field accomplishments, social and educational capitals, as well as the obstacles they face, are studied alongside the effect of their religious and political affiliation and their strategies of struggle. Utilizing a qualitative research design, individual in-depth interviews were conducted in the fall of 2014. Respondents included 27 newsroom workers, 18 of whom were females and 9 of whom were males chosen from Lebanon’s nine official television stations. The respondents’ gendered distribution ensures the inclusion of both the male and female perspectives of the newsroom environment. The findings are thematically divided under cultural and social capitals, gendered news division, age and appearance, the glass ceiling, obstacles and advancement strategies. The findings revealed how the Lebanese television newsroom juggles inter-state and intra-state rivalries which are part of the television’s politico-sectarian identity. This study showed that respondents’ career paths are affected in fluid ways by a number of characteristics that intersect with the politico-sectarian nature of the Lebanese television and gender. These characteristics, which include age, appearance, parenthood, political and religious affiliations, shape the respondents’ experiences and offer them ways to comply with or resist the dominant newsroom culture. Women, who seem to bear the weight of these characteristics more than men, have managed to prove themselves in the Lebanese television newsroom. They occupy senior management positions and have established parity in pay and in news coverage. Though they are still a minority in top management positions and in governance, women have re-shaped the newsroom environment inviting us to re-conceptualize established gendered news divisions and forms of gendered interaction and struggle. Yet women in the Lebanese television newsroom have a long way to go- their reach into the upper echelons of media management is conditioned by their political participation in a country where the media are an extension of the politico-sectarian governing body, in which women are still a minority.






Carleton University

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