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TV host Yana Brenzey says an event refused to hire her as moderator due to her sex

19.04.2024, 12:41

Яна Брензей

Ukrainian TV host Yana Brenzey. Photo by Yana Brenzey on Facebook

STB's "Vikna-Novyny" host Yana Brenzey said that an economics conference refused to hire her as a moderator due to her sex. She shared the story on Instagram.

According to her, a few days before the event, they texted her: "Sorry, we gave it a thought and decided it would be better for a man to be hosting this, so thank you and goodbye."

"I am among the top three graduates of the economic journalism program at the Kyiv School of Economics. I moderate events for international structures such as the UN and the OSCE. Events featuring the highest-ranking state officials. This conference would have been the fourth in my schedule this month alone. I declined a few more offers because I didn't have enough time. But here's the drawback: I have XX chromosomes, not XY," Brenzey wrote.

Yana Mashkova, a media analyst and gender balance researcher at the Institute of Mass Information, pointed out the stereotypes in the attitude towards women.

"Unfortunately, such cases when women are refused or not included in the expert pools are not sporadic. The case with Ms. Brenzey, who was supposed to be the moderator, shows that the organizers are not very self-aware and for some reason think in stereotypes and prejudices which say that women cannot perform on the same level as men," Yana Mashkova said.

She cited the IMI gender monitoring, which shows that women were previously only asked to comment on the "easy topics" such as health, education or psychology, while all the other comments were supposed to be commented on by men.

The IMI researchers note that lately women have been more involved in commenting on topics that previously had been stereotypically considered "masculine". For instance, comments by female experts on topics related to international politics, economics, and crime have become more frequent.

According to the IMI's survey of women journalists, 22% of them faced gender-based issues or obstacles in their work during 2023.

The main gender-based issues faced by women in journalism, as listed by the respondents, included:

  • dismissal of professional expertise and disrespect (25% of respondents, i.e. one in every four women had experienced it);
  • sexism or objectification (18%);
  • obstacles related to maternity leave, age (13%);
  • sexual harassment (6%);
  • denial of access or problems with access to certain workplaces due to gender (also 6%).
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