International Women's Day

In marking International Women’s Day this year, the Australian media have demonstrated varying levels of effort and self-awareness.

The ABC hasn’t gone as far as previous years when they would kick all male presenters off air. On-air double acts such as ABC Sydney’s Robbie Buck and Wendy Harmer, and ABC News Breakfast’s Michael Rowland and Lisa Miller were working as usual, and Radio National’s news presenter Matt Bevan was one of the only male voices on that station this morning.

Inside News Corp’s Daily Telegraph — once you get past the front-page, full-size picture of British actress Charlotte Wick to illustrate the scandal involving her and Australian billionaire James Packer — you get a critical story about a US psychotherapist running a workshop in Sydney for girls’ schools. The new “a-gender” (per the headline) is a workshop about single-sex schools being equipped for “a multi-gender world”. And then, like all the News Corp papers, there’s a full-page ad trumpeting the paper’s commitment to women. The Tele cites its stand against domestic violence, efforts to improve vaccination rates and to protect children as evidence of its commitment to women. “The Daily Telegraph is on the right side of history,” it says.

In Adelaide, The Advertiser decided to bring in prominent female guest editors for today’s edition — still working with actual editor Matt Deighton. Actor Teresa Palmer, politicians Penny Wong and Vickie Chapman, and AFLW player Erin Phillips worked in the Adelaide newsroom yesterday, helping to select stories for today’s paper and adding comments to some of the day’s news stories.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age didn’t make quite as much of a song and dance about their efforts. The SMH’s op-ed pages were populated by female writers on varying topics, and pointed on its front page to a list of Sydney’s most influential women and the best advice they’d received. It and The Age also ran a list of the 50 top women in sport.

Nine stablemate The Australian Financial Review put Google’s Australian boss Melanie Silva on the front of its Boss magazine, released today. But the lack of equality in business was starkly clear in the same lift-out’s list of rich business executives. No women were in the top 10, and you had to read down to number 31 for the first woman: Macqaurie Bank’s Shemara Wikramanayake.

And perhaps most surprising of all, at Sky Racing the broadcasting has been handed over to women for the whole day.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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