Elanie Steyn Kathryn Jenson White
University of Oklahoma University of Oklahoma
Despite trends to recognize people as organizations’ most important resource, many countries struggle to acknowledge women as part of their resource pools, especially when it comes to filling leadership positions. This results in many women remaining part of the historical trend of fewer opportunities for career advancement and lower wages than for their male colleagues. Women in South Asian media, Nepal in particular for this study, face this challenging reality daily. Attempts to redress these disparities in Nepal notwithstanding, much remains undone. The 2008 Global Gender Gap Report, for instance, ranked Nepal 120th out of 130 countries on the Gender Gap Index, in which the World Economic Forum evaluates women’s standing in areas including health, education and financial/professional status. Moreover, it ranked Nepali women’s ability to rise to enterprise leadership at 3.82 out of a possible 7. Nepali women clearly lag behind men in media participation and decision making. Men dominate in top management positions, with few women serving on media commissions or committees. One cause of this disparity is male-dominated management environments in which the difference between male and female management styles and approaches makes it difficult for women to advance. In addition, religious and cultural barriers limit media enterprises’ openness to change and prevent them from fairly advancing female staff members.
This study explores female journalists’ experiences of management in traditionally male-dominated Nepali media environments. The researchers qualitatively evaluated respondents’ views on the importance and implementation of three managerial competencies (communication, teamwork and self-management) that form part of a competency-based approach to general management. Against this background, the article outlines preliminary research results pertaining to gaps between the importance female journalists attach to the above-mentioned three managerial competencies and their experience of how their predominantly male managers implement them in daily management of media newsrooms. Based on the research results, the researchers aimed to determine whether current management approaches in the Nepali media restrict or liberate female journalists interested in assuming leadership roles in their professions.