Female journalists are paid 26 percent less than their male counterparts, says a new study, but that claim is deeply misleading according to the study’s own data.
A study published Tuesday surveyed journalists in New Zealand, and claims the median after-tax salary of women is 26 percent lower than that of men of equivalent rank and experience.
The study’s claim ignores much of its own data.
Its data clearly suggests the salary gap is because female journalists are, on average, six years younger than their male colleagues, and have 5.3 less years of work experience. They are also less likely to work full time and hold management positions.
This demographic information is buried on page 126 of the study, and is nowhere to be found in the press release entitled: “New study finds female journalists paid 26 per cent less.” It claims to account for “equivalent rank and experience.”
The study did find the average after-tax income of a male journalist in the country is $55,552, while the average female journalist earns $44,104. This statistic on its own can be misleading without the context of the work experience gap.
In the U.S., feminist groups frequently allege women make 77 percent of what a comparably qualified man makes for the same job, but this ignores other factors influencing compensation like years of experience, education levels, hours worked and part-time status.
The survey found women outnumber men in the journalism profession in New Zealand, but that certain ethnic minority groups are less likely to be in the media than in the general population.
“[D]espite evidence of some improvement, Māori, Pasifika, and Asian reporters remain under-represented in newsrooms,” Dr. Hollings, head of journalism at Massey University who was involved in the research, said in a press statement. “Māori make up only 7.9 per cent of the journalism workforce, despite making up 15 per cent of the general population.”
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