Sunday is International Women's Day, a time to stop and think about progress for women in all fields and where issues remain.
While The Globe and Mail generally does a good job of treating women in the news without gender bias, I had two complaints about language usage over the past month.
Here's what The Globe's Style Guide says on women and language:
"Gratuitous descriptions: We must be balanced in what characteristics we choose to describe. If it would not be relevant to describe a man's height, weight, figure, hair, dress or family status, we should not do so for a woman in the same circumstances. We should not refer to a female athlete as a grandmother, for example, if we would not refer to a comparable male athlete as a grandfather.
We should also avoid such sexual stereotypes as grandmotherly, manly, unwomanly, masculine, feminine, unfeminine and tomboy. These imply wrongly that there is a single standard or ideal in appearance and behaviour against which men and women should be judged, and that people in certain occupations or with certain physical and character traits or interests are not real men or women."
It's a good standard and you rarely see physical descriptions used for women in politics or business that you wouldn't see used for men. Still there seems to be somewhat of a double standard for movie and television stars. And I don't mean their fashion and style which is important to their public image and also interesting for its news value on the fashion and style industries.
There was a complaint about the headline on a recent video about a movie premiere which said: "Mila Kunis shows off post-baby body at 'Jupiter Ascending' premiere".
If you watch the video, there was no reference in the video to her body. She did talk about being well-rested after having a baby and then discussed her movie. And last week in the newspaper there was an article about the human rights lawyer who represents Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy.
Although the article was about her legal and political efforts to help Mr. Fahmy, a reader called to ask why the photo caption referred to Amal Clooney as the lawyer for Mohamed Fahmny and included this in parenthesis (and wife of actor/activist George Clooney).
In my view, that may be relevant in an article about Mr. Clooney or an article about the movie industry, but I'm not sure it was relevant to her work as a human rights lawyer and needed to be a key point in the photo caption.