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Opinion: Stuck in the Middle

Petra Buchanan GAICD
Petra Buchanan GAICD

I find myself having similar discussions with women who work in the media industry. They have faced unexpected challenges and roadblocks along their professional journeys. Despite their dedication and hard work, they feel a sense of stagnation, as if they are caught in the middle, unable to break through to the next level. This disheartening realisation is that the industry they love has systemic barriers in place that hinder their progress.

The Women in Media Industry Insight Report 2023, a comprehensive survey, delves into the realities and perspectives of women working in media today. It sheds light on the persistent barriers that women face, the challenges they encounter, and their aspirations for a more inclusive and supportive industry. Alarmingly, nearly one-third of those surveyed said they are considering leaving their jobs in the next twelve months. Middle stage career women are especially at risk.

The report reveals that, despite advances in recent years, a significant number of women in media continue to grapple with gender inequality, limited access to opportunities, and a lack of industry support. It paints a vivid picture of the frustrations and aspirations of women who are striving to make their mark in an industry that often fails to recognise their talents and potential.

Industry Insight Report 2023

One of the key findings of the report is the overwhelming dissatisfaction among women with the progress of their careers. Many women find themselves stuck in the middle, unable to advance or break through the glass ceiling. This feeling of stagnation not only stifles their personal growth but also limits the industry's potential to benefit from their unique perspectives and contributions.

Moreover, the report notes the industry’s persistent gender pay gap, which is below the national average. The lack of transparency surrounding pay practices further compounds the problem, leaving women undervalued and demotivated. These inequalities not only hinder the financial well-being of women but also erode their confidence and sense of worth within the industry.

Industry Insight Report 2023

As a strategic advisor for Women in Media, I rally behind the importance of this report and the opportunity to embrace change. It calls upon the industry, employers, and individuals to take bold and meaningful action to dismantle barriers and create a more inclusive and equitable industry. By implementing measures such as gender pay audits, providing access to leadership opportunities, and fostering a culture of mentorship and support, we can pave the way for a future where women in media can thrive and reach their full potential.

Let’s come together to help women break free from the limitations of the middle and propel them towards a brighter and more equitable future that embraces their talents and aspirations.


Petra Buchanan is a company director with an executive career in media, technology and business sectors. She is a strategic advisor for Women in Media.


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