Reader: Women of Gannett are weary of sexism

Regarding a Columbia Journalism Review story, and sexist comments on this blog, one reader said: “This sexism debate is getting old.” But then Anonymous@10:29 a.m. jumped in, saying: “Imagine how old it would feel if you were a woman striving in Gannett and having to work next to it your entire career. . . . I was shocked by the reader comments on The Des Moines Register post, criticizing the top editor, who had the audacity to moderate the newspaper’s presidential debate and ask important questions, instead of focusing on the hot topic of the day. I was sickened by the comments on the paper’s website when Mary Stier retired. Then again when a new publisher was named. And the people who frequent this blog were equally crude when that publisher’s photo appeared with a post about the Register. So if you’re weary Anonymous@7:48, the women of Gannett, whether they’re an executive assistant, reporter or editor, are sick of it, too.”

Join the debate, in the original post.

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14 Responses to “Reader: Women of Gannett are weary of sexism”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Sexism is an attitude. Discrimination on the basis of one’s gender is a behavior. There’s a huge difference.

    I refuse to believe Gannett, as a whole, supports or practices discrimination against women. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the company does not provide equal training, hiring and other opportunities for women.

    I do, however, believe the numbers just might show that Gannett discriminates against a different protected class—workers 40 and over. I could be wrong there, too.

    Some people are just tacky. That’s why sexist and ageist comments pop up on this blog.

    I find them offensive.

    I’m still wondering if Tara C. was bothered by the ageist posts as much as she was by the sexist ones. Sure wish she’d post an answer.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Gannett has two managers who are openly sexist in their attitudes. One told a friend of mine point blank that women don’t belong in the sports department. The other actively talks down to women, saying he’ll “give you a pass” on being upset “because of your hormones.”

    These are both high-level editors. Not people in the press room or advertising — they run newsrooms. And Corporate knows about it and does nothing.

    I would agree, however, that they actively discriminate against the 40 and over crowd as well.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    8:44 AM
    UGH—That’s so offensive. Ouch about the hormone comment.

    But, are there women working in sports for Gannett? Yes. Are there women working in the upper management positions? Yes. Do women sit on the board of directors? Yes.

    I still maintain that Gannett does not discriminate against women, and believe the statistics would back that up.

    And I still maintain that the statistics just might show that Gannett discriminates against against workers 40 and older in hiring, training and evaluations.

    So sorry to hear about your experiences with sexism in the workplace, Anon 8:44 AM. But I’m not sorry you work in a place that seemingly gives women equal opportunity.

    Gannett would have to show me the company doesn’t discriminate against one protected class—-workers 40 and older.

    I’m guessing the Baby Boomers will attempt to change this practice, much like my cohort paved the way for women.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Anon@8:44:

    I do not believe that, as a company, GCI discriminates against women. There are simply too many serving in middle and upper management positions for that to be the case.

    Now, are there individuals inside the company who hold discriminatory attitudes? Almost certainly there are, as is probably the case in most work environments. If, however, a supervisor directed a “hormone” comment toward me, I would quickly give him a foot up his ass, all the way down to HR.

    If you tolerate comments like that, you are tacitly endorsing their perpetuation.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    HR – well there’s a joke! And you really truly believe they are going up to these managers/editors and lecture them???

    Hell, no – as long as nobody else heard this comment (HR always wants witnesses) guess where you are with your complaint? Right back at your desk and waiting for the next sexist comment. Trust me, HR doesn’t touch a hot iron like this one (especially not HR at headquarters), because they are more for management than for the employee. Know of several complaints that were brought to HR’s attention and never any action resulted of it. That’s a department that literally get their paychecks for snoozing at their desks!

  6. Anonymous Says:

    When Gannett bought my newspaper, it was immediately clear it was installing a triple-paned glass ceiling that would hold only white straight men above it. Painfully clear.

    Few minority or gay employees remain, and women’s status has been systematically eroded until we now really are all just glorified clerks. When there’s an opportunity at middle or upper management, we know better than to even entertain a thought of it.

    That’s the truth. The corporation may have a handful of token women and minorities in visible positions that Tara posting here anonymously (???) can lord up to us, but the proof is in the pudding in every newsroom.

    At all levels, women should account for half the newsrooms. We obviously don’t.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Anon 2:43 – can you site a source that proves that an equal amount of women and men are in the workforce at large, proving your supposition that the newsroom should be a 50/50 split?

    This page: http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat2.pdf leads me to believe that in 2007 there was about a 13% difference between the number of employed men and employed women in the civilian noninstitutional population. It took me 10 minutes to find that info, and I don’t even have a journalism degree!

    I’m a female who has been with Gannett for 10 years and here in NJ I don’t see a workplace filled with straight white men under 40, which is what most comments seem to insinuate.

    And I’m not Tara.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    11:08, I DID go to HR about the hormone comment. It went nowhere. And Corporate is aware of the comment as well. You can see how much they care.

    And the paper where I used to work in sports has exactly zero, count ’em ZIP NADA NO women in sports now. After I left — for a management position in another industry — they transferred the last remaining woman from sports to news.

    The Associated Press Sports Editors conducted a study of their own sports departments and gave themselves less than stellar grades for the number of women in sports departments. There are less than 10 female sports editors nationwide; I know of just one in Gannett.

    That’s real progress, there, yep.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    9:25 PM
    Was wondering if you filed a complaint with the EEOC?

    I actually chose that route rather than HR—just because.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I think that the only people Gannett discriminates against on a consistent basis is white males. As a middle manager I often have been told (by EVERY Gannett editor I have ever worked for) to pass over more qualified white male candidates in favor of a minority or woman candidate. One editor even did a ratings chart where a minority woman candidate with marginal skills would rate higher than a white male candidate with exceptional skills. Older white males are now a great target in newsrooms across Gannett. At my paper we made budget cuts last year and the only people off the block in my newsroom were the minority employees. In the past I have had an editor tell me point blank, I love your stuff but my next hire has to be a minority.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    “Older white males are now a great target in newsrooms across Gannett.”

    Pointing out possible age discrimination, 11:39 AM, and doing something to solve the problem are two different things.

    If Gannett is discriminating against workers 40 years and older, I sure hope people take steps to hold the company accountable for its actions.

    Personally, I think it’s something we can do to help future generations of workers.

    I’m an ex-Gannett employee.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    11:04 I didn’t because it wasn’t something that occurred to me at that time. I’d love to know what the statute of limitations is.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    In my state, discrimination complaints had to be filed with the EEOC within 90 days of the event.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    That’s what I figured. It’s been too long. But a leopard doesn’t change its spots and I am confident he will pay in some way down the line.

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