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Through the labyrinth: an inquiry into the lived experiences and leadership characteristics of female leaders in Indian newsrooms.

Sodhi, S., 2021. Through the labyrinth: an inquiry into the lived experiences and leadership characteristics of female leaders in Indian newsrooms. Masters Thesis (Masters). Bournemouth University.

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While India has one of the most vibrant (Sreedharan & Thorsen 2015, Ismail and Mishra 2009) and fast-growing media landscapes in the world (CRISIL 2021), concerns about the representation of women in the Indian media have been gaining momentum. In 2018, the Network of Women in Media, India found that a major concern for female journalists was the lack of women in positions of leadership within the newsrooms (NWMI 2018). Further, a 2019 report by UN Women titled Gender Inequality in Indian Media found that only 5% of leadership positions in newspapers are held by women, while the numbers for TV channels and magazines stand only marginally better, at 20.9% and 13.6% respectively. This study is undertaken against this backdrop, taking an interdisciplinary approach that draws on Feminist Standpoint (FST), Gatekeeping and Leadership theories to highlight the importance of women’s representation in the industry, arguing that diverse representation in the upper echelons of management is critical to a democratic and fair media. Drawing from FST, this study prioritises the lived experiences and perspectives of women in positions of leadership in understanding how women lead. Through 18 semi-structured interviews with journalists in India, focussing on 4 English language National outlets in New Delhi – 2 print and 2 TV, the study brings the lived experiences of 11 female leaders of Indian newsrooms to the fore, using thematic analysis to better understand the characteristics of and obstacles to female leadership in Indian newsrooms. Seven interviews with journalists reporting to these leaders provide follower perspectives of these women. Finally, using the data from these interviews, the study provides a list of recommendations to remove hurdles to female leadership. This thesis finds that the women tended to favour collaborative and democratic styles of leadership, with a significant emphasis on mentorship. This corresponds with previous studies (Eagly, Johannesen-Schmidt, and Engen 2003, Eagly and Karau 2002) that found that women tend to favour more democratic leadership styles, as well as studies that show that women show a higher tendency towards transformative leadership (Eagly and Johnson 1990, Gipson et al. 2017). A significant finding showed the emotional labour performed by these women, and the double bind they felt in simultaneously navigating the expectations placed on them as women, and as leaders. These findings highlight phenomena like Think Manager Think Male (Schein 1973, 1975), and Heilman’s Lack of Fit model (1983). The interviewees described both social and institutional barriers to their progression in the workplace, ranging from gendered expectations to the lack of daycare options. Focussing on the lived experiences of women journalists in Indian newsrooms, this study provides a better understanding of why, despite monumental growth, the Indian media struggle with a dearth of women in positions of leadership.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:Indian newsrooms; leadership; feminism; representation; diversity; gatekeeping; standpoint; Indian media; journalism
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:36053
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:27 Sep 2021 09:23
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:29


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