What are the barriers to gender equity in the media industry? What can be done to promote gender equity in the media industry, especially in leadership positions?

The main barriers to gender equity in the media industry are a hostile workplace environment created by sexist attitudes, and the lack of women at the highest levels. Gender equity can be promoted by such means as sponsorship and mentoring programs to provide women with networks and opportunities, visible goals for diversity in leadership, and feedback mechanisms to ensure that women's views of the company culture are clear to the leadership.

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McKinsey's 2019 Women in the Workplace study found that women are unusually well-represented in the media industry (a summary of the study's major findings is attached below). However, this representation is concentrated at the lower levels, with a glass ceiling preventing women from reaching positions in senior management. The study also found that women in media experience a more hostile workplace environment than men, with a plethora of small-scale aggressions such as being interrupted, not being given credit for ideas, and having their competence continually questioned.

While it is clear that lack of representation at the highest levels and a hostile workplace environment are the major problems faced by women in the media industry, the only obvious causes of both barriers throughout the industry are old-fashioned sexist attitudes. It is difficult to combat these on a systemic level, but some ideas include the following. Companies can establish senior sponsorship and mentoring programs, giving women access to help and advice from senior executives, replicating the informal male "old boy" networks. They can make a visible commitment to diversity by setting goals for the number of women at senior level by a certain point in time. They can also seek more extensive feedback from women on the workplace culture and how to improve it.

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