Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The More Things Stay the Same, the More Things Change

While media consolidation is monopolizing mainstream media, many journalists and media makers are embarking upon new venues in which to foster the art of communication.

Latinitas Magazine is a non-profit organization based in Austin, Texas whose mission is to empower Latina youth through media and technology. They are one of the first bilingual digital magazines made for and by young Latinas. The young women are involved in the publication process and are encouraged to develop their own media. The organization features two magazines, one for teens and the other for girls. Additionally, the organization offers after school programs, fun-girl camps, mentor projects and workshops focused on media that are geared specifically for young girls and adolescents.

In developing new ways to expand the art of communication, women are capable of buffering the impact and effect that the commercially based media may have on young women. Awareness regarding the issues and differences in salary scales, caused by gender, may help young women to later develop into constituents who set in motion the changes that are required to balance out the discrepancies women face in the work force today.
The internet has provided us with ways to share information that allow for diversification. Because of this, many people today do not solely rely on the six major media conglomerates for information. As traditional media becomes less diversified and more exclusionary, the need for non-commercialized information and quality discourse increases exponentially. In this realm, women have the potential to change the historical disparities that women have had to contend with thus far.

The fact that women own less than five percent of television stations, six percent of radio stations and three percent of decision making positions within the media industry is quite disheartening; this is especially so if the ratio of women in the United States is 51 percent (Jenkins, February 2007, womensmediacenter.com). This fact lends itself to a bigger issue overall – the lack of women in decision making positions in all areas of business and government throughout the country. According to research conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women only earn more than men in five out of more than 500 occupational categories tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“Gender Pay, Discrepancy Down,” Mantell, April 2009, MarketWatch – WSJ.com). "Women in some highly paid professions--such as law--stand to lose $2 million or more in full-time careers." ("Wage Gap Study Arrives in Time for Equal Pay Day," Soquel, April 2009, WomensENews.org).

The battle between the sexes is a weary one, and one that may have to be approached from a different perspective. The growth of our economy and our development as a human race is contingent upon the fact that PEOPLE must work TOGETHER – both men and women alike and for salaries reflect their abilities to do their respective jobs.

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