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“The fight for diversity is by no means over” - NUJ’s Michelle Stanistreet calls for media organisations to publish comprehensive diversity data

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By Jessica Goodfellow, Media Reporter

March 25, 2016 | 3 min read

The general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Michelle Stanistreet has called for systematic diversity monitoring within media organisations and the end of unpaid internships to tackle inequality, saying “the fight for diversity is by no means over”.

In an article published by the Guardian today (25 March), Stanistreet explained that her piece on the “sadly ongoing fight” for better diversity - a topic that has swept the media this year - was to make the principle of equal pay for equal work a reality.

“That poverty pay and pay inequality aren’t consigned to the history books but remain with us today shows that the fight is by no means over. Nor will it be while some companies try to get away with paying women workers less than their male counterparts.”

It is the job of the NUJ to tackle “dodgy employers and even dodgier employment practices”, said Stanistreet, who called for media companies to work in partnership with the NUJ to tackle endemic inequality in the media industry, saying “change is overdue”.

In the media industry, men are more likely to go into senior roles when compared with women with the same amount of professional experience, according to a survey by City University London. The lack of transparency in recruitment and promotion procedures is a major part of this problem, according to Stanistreet.

What’s more, there is no legal obligation or duty placed on national newspapers to publish employment data, with Stanistreet claiming that the existing requirements for UK public broadcasters have not been implemented.

“Media organisations should be compelled to collect and publish employment data that includes gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality and disability in terms of access to jobs, pay rates and employment status. Introducing systematic monitoring would mean employers could no longer ignore the evidence. At the same time, having the full picture would better equip us to tackle the barriers that stop women fulfilling their potential at work” she said.

Stanistreet also called for the end of unpaid internships, which the media industry is notorious for. When internships are not paid, access to jobs is not always based on talent or merit, but it is limited to those who can afford it, she said.

"Unpaid work exacerbates existing inequalities and excludes new, diverse talent. Paid internships would open up the industry to people from a range of backgrounds and be a step towards us creating a media that reflects the communities journalism shines a light on" she added.

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