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Women in Media - Caroline Overington



Welcome to MediaScope's profile series where we ask 'Women in Media' about their career and experiences in our industry.  Our aim is to create awareness of the opportunities and ongoing challenges for women in the media, marketing, advertising and publishing industry.

This time I'm pleased to present author, Walkley Award Winner, journalist & now Associate Editor of Aust Women's Weekly - Caroline Overington.

Thanks to Caroline for getting involved.

Tell us about your industry background?

I’ve been a journalist and editor for more than 20 years. I’ve worked at Fairfax, New Ltd and now Bauer.

What is your role and what do you do?

I’m associate editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly.  I see my job as being able to consistently come up with cracking stories that people want to read; and to write them, honestly and fairly.

What are your family circumstances and how do you manage your work/life balance?

I’m married, and I have twins (a son, and a daughter.) My thoughts on the juggle are: if you are a woman and you want to work and have children, go for it. Every bloke you know is doing it, so why not you, too? 

Please outline your views on the general media market & the position of women?

Go into the CBD at lunchtimes, and there will be a sea of men in suits, many of them with a corner office, all of them with a PA, all of them with a car space in the city, all of them going on conferences at resorts with golf courses, and I wonder how many of them are better than the women who serve them, and answer to them, and cover for them? And I think, the world is as skewed today as it was when Dr Greer was a little girl. Media is probably better than many industries, in that there are some women in senior roles, but not many. I have seen many talented women leapfrogged by mediocre men.

I’ve seen brave women quit the rat race to start up on their own (Mia Freedman, Wendy Harmer, Paula Joye) and the online businesses they’ve built are now the only ones still employing people, with growth forecasts to envy.

When I started in newspapers, women could edit the lifestyle pages. Or maybe the features page. But they were never allowed to edit an actual newspaper. That’s shifted, a little. But only a little.

What advice can you offer to women who are considering a long-term career in our industry?

Women have a tendency to aim low. As a general rule, a woman will shy away from a job that they aren’t fully qualified to do. Men never think like that. They leap in, and have a go, and if they muck it up, somehow convince themselves it’s not their fault, get a huge payout, and go and get employed somewhere else. Women should adopt that attitude: go for it.

What challenges have you faced in your career and how have you overcome them?

The hardest thing is doing the story justice. That’s a challenge every day. Is it fair? Is it balanced? Have I spoken to everyone who needs to be spoken to, and have I considered every possibility and every angle?

What can our industry do right now to better recognise & support women & families?

It isn’t going to be the industry that leads to change. Change is going to come from individual women storming to the top, being followed by many other women. One day, half the top jobs will be held by women and men will be doing half the work on the home front. I will of course be dead and buried by then, and so will you, but that day is coming.

What’s your favourite business and personal magazine, site or program?

The Australian Women’s Weekly, The Australian, Mamamia.com.au, Lifestyled.com.au, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, Tim Blair’s blog, and Twitter, 12 times a day.

Thank you!

If you know a 'Woman in Media' you'd like to see profiled please get in touch with your suggestion.

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Further Resources

  • - Digital People Profiles - over the past 3 years we've profiled over 100 of the most well-known and experienced people in the Australian digital media industry through trade site - Digital Ministry
  • - Media Owner Profiles - we ask some of Australia's most successful media owners about running their business and ask them to offer advice to other media owners

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