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Introduction: women and journalism in the United States and Britain

Women television news presenters and correspondents continue to be subject to regular comments and complaints about their appearance: their clothes, hair and voices are scrutinized far more intensively by both management and viewers than those of their male counterparts. In a comment still relevant today, Patricia Holland (1987: 133) said of women newsreaders on British television during the late 1980s, 'The imposed limits of femininity, it seems, cannot easily be cast off, particularly in the hard world of news reporting'. The personal lives and bodies of women journalists are often dissected and debated in the news media. This treatment comes from news media's top management, apparently in response to audiences' curiosity. Indeed, the high social visibility of women journalists in popular discourses contrasts with their relative invisibility in boardrooms and at other senior management meetings.