About Time: Digital Women Bosses Take Charge

“To me the mission is not just to diversify my organization. It’s diversifying the industry overall,” says Mitra Kalita, managing editor The Los Angeles Times. Journalist believes that there’s still large inequality when it comes to men and women in media field. Sexism is still alive, and successful women journalists are ready to talk about it openly.

Panel discussion on Saturday happened with Liz Heron (executive editor The Huffington Post), Mitra Kalita (managing editor The Los Angeles Times) and Madhulika Sikka (news executive). All journalists have high positions, all have family.

“Sources are hitting on female reporters all the time,” admits Kalita. She adds that not only sources are the problem. Many slippery situations have also happened at workplace. “It’s like clapping with one hand unless everyone’s involved,” Sikka said starting discussion. Journalist believes that both men and women have to make effort to change current situation. “Women are expected to not only be great at newsroom, but deal with other things that males would not necessarily be asked about,” says Sikka.

Diversity is not always present in working environment. “The more women and people of color we have in high role positions, the easier for all of us to be individuals,” believes Heron. All speakers are in role of managing their working teams. They agree that looking at anatomy of every work team is crucial. Both men and women should be represented equally, they agree. “There are still a lot of systemic problems up there. It’s great that there are many women in leadership, but there are still a lot more men,” says Heron.

Heron believes there’s a big confidence gap between men; and roots come from the way children are raised up. “Women have to understand that it’s going to be harder for them than for men,” she says. All admit they often have to encourage young women journalists. “You deserve it, you’ve got qualifications, you ask for it. I’ve never had to have this conversation with men,” says Sikka. Kalita suggests girls to have more confidence and go for opportunities they deserve.

“I think guys are expected to be different than women. (..) I don’t want to generalize, because I’ve also had very ineffective female managers and effective male managers. But we are measured differently, and people look at us differently. It doesn’t matter what your politics are. If you look how she is covered, she is covered differently, because she is a woman. There is absolutely no doubting in that,” Sikka.

All journalists have gone through having children and trying to keep their job. “Women are often accused of being highly emotional. My response is usually – well, it’s journalism. We should be emotional about our work,” adds Kalita. People often ask managing editor of The Los Angeles Times for “a manual” how to manage great career with family life. “You have to have a supportive partner,” she says with a smile.

By: Anna Udre