Panel Discusses Study on Palestinian Women in Media

Women’s representation in Palestinian media was the topic of a panel discussion sponsored by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate and the Birzeit University Media Development Center on February 12, 2014.

Panelists related to a recently-published study entitled "Factors that affect the women’s employment and performance in Palestinian media institutions: a social perspective," prepared by Nahed Abu Taima under the supervision of professor Walid Shurafa.

In her opening address, Media Development Center director Nibal Thawabteh emphasized the center’s interest in media research, and support for gender parity and women's participation in media. "This study aimed to define the reality of women performance in media institutions and factors that affect their employment from a gender perspective,” she said.

Coordinator of the syndicate’s women journalists committee Kholoud Assaf said that the union is seeking to expand women journalists’ employment opportunities, and augment their skills through training courses. Assaf said this study is important as systems and internal regulations are developed around gender issues, and plans and work mechanisms are adopted that contribute to women’s involvement in media and in the syndicate.

Birzeit University media professor and research supervisor Walid Shurafa spoke about the low participation of women in media work, as compared to the numbers of students who study media at the university. Shurafa also spoke about the study’s methodology. The researcher adopted a descriptive approach, using focus groups and a questionnaire for primary data collection, surveying 135 working women journalists.

Abu Taima presented the study’s most important findings and recommendations. Her research showed that the majority of women journalists do not assume decision-making positions, their salaries are relatively low, and their participation in the syndicate is limited due to a lack of conviction that the syndicate can protect their rights.

Abu Taima also discussed the study’s recommendations, suggesting that the number of women journalists grow and their involvement be intensified. Abu Taima called upon universities and media institutions to introduce at least two courses where media students will study gender and press laws.