A group of high-profile female journalists is launching a new initiative to improve working conditions and career opportunities for women in the media.

The centrepiece of the Women in Media project is a mentoring program in which early to mid-career media women will be paired with seasoned gumshoes for six months. The first mentors will be Sky News anchor Tracey Spicer (television), Sydney Morning Herald investigative reporter Kate McClymont (newspapers), Private Media publishing director Marina Go (online), News Corp columnist Angela Mollard (magazines), former Radio National manager Jane Connors (radio) and a public relations expert (yet to be announced).

The group, backed by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, will also tackle issues such as sexual harassment, workplace bullying, pay equity, paid parental leave and the number of women in senior media roles.

Australian Story presenter Caroline Jones is Women in Media’s national patron, and will give a speech at the launch of the group in Sydney on October 23. Committee members include Fairfax political reporter Stephanie Peatling, former Australian media diarist Amanda Meade and Destroy the Joint co-convenor Jenna Price.

Spicer told Crikey: “This is not a divisive campaign. This is founded by women to help other women in the media, mentor them, provide them with career support. It will be a nurturing environment to help women get to the next step of their career. Ever since I finished at Channel Ten, I have wanted to start something like this.”

The mentoring program will begin early next year, with a new group of mentors and mentees to be chosen every six months.