Sexism is bad for business

As the world becomes more aware of and more sensitive to content that is sexist and gender stereotyping, media organisations risk losing their audience if they publish it. The #MeToo movement has sparked a surge in awareness around gender equality on a global scale and has shown women (and men) how to effectively tackle and hold accountable the people and organisations who perpetuate gender inequalities and abuse. Audiences no longer remain silent when they feel a news organisation is publishing sexist ormisogynistic content. Social media platforms have allowed them to voice their concerns and anger publicly. Numerous listeners of BBC Radio 4 recently took to Twitter to complain about BBC veteran John Humphrys after he claimed women were better at looking after babies than men. Similarly, Jeffrey Goldberg, editor of The Atlantic, came under fire for suggesting that “almost  exclusively white males” wrote 10,000-word cover stories. Ironically this happened during an interview about how the magazine was diversifying staff.

These examples show that in today’s climate, in part brought about by the #MeToo movement, outright or seemingly misogynistic statements are no longer considered acceptable. Research by The Economist has shown that companies whose employees have been embroiled in sexual harassment scandals have seen their shares dip. In the case of Fox News, the network’s show The O’Reilly Factor, hosted by Bill O’Reilly, lost more than half of its advertisers within a week after it came to light that he and Fox News had settled numerous sexual harassment lawsuits against him dating back to 2002.

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