WASHINTON - Media executives from around the world are in Washington, D.C., this week creating a global plan of action to help women news professionals overcome the challenges they face in their field.
They are using the results of a new two-year study commissioned by the International Women's Media Foundation. The global study looked at the status of women in the news media in more than 500 broadcast and print outlets in 59 countries in areas such as hiring and promotional practices, salaries and news assignments.
"For the first time we have scientifically collected evidence that offers a true picture of the very real challenges faced by women working in the media industry," International Women's Media Foundation Executive Director Liza Gross said.
WEB EXTRA: Roundtable discussion on the status of women in news media.
The study found that most of the jobs in management and news-gathering are held by men.
In terms of salary, it found that in Nigeria, women and men journalists receive equal pay. In some instances, women earn more than men. In the Middle East and North Africa, men earn three to five times as much as women.
In the United Kingdom, women are severely underpaid in higher salaried positions.
Many of the women in attendance at the international conference have broken barriers.
Moneeza Hashmi is the General Manager International Relations for HUM TV in Pakistan. She rose through the ranks, but not without facing a variety of challenges.
"The times were slightly more difficult and therefore we set the tone," Hashmi said. "It takes a lot of commitment, and the word that I would use here is passion -- passion in what you think needs to be said, done; and passion in the fact that what you're doing is right. Of course, from where we come from and I think everywhere else in the world, you need a supportive family, you need a supportive home atmosphere."
The gender inequities coupled with the harsh realities of some of the regions where these women work makes being a journalist even more difficult.
"We've been under threat from some of these ethnic groups, we've been under threat from some religious groups as well and drug lords, "Rehana Hakim, Editor-in-Chief of Newsline said. Hakim also lives in Pakistan. "But the point is to go on and be confident in yourself… be very strong and check your sources."
Participants will also look at the role of the media in the recent uprisings in Egypt and Libya as well as the intersection of social media and the influence of Facebook, Twitter and the internet on global causes.
The conference is being held at George Washington University and lasts until Friday.