Sexism in Africa newsrooms

Posted on November 15, 2016 12:40 am

Yesterday I looked at how women despite a significant increase in their numbers in Africa media, continues to earn less than their male counterparts.As a result, Africa’s media sector refuses to acknowledge there are discriminations like sexism in newsrooms.Statistics in my possession show female journalists in Africa are experiencing sexual harassment at a rate more than twice that of the general workforce.The survey of 2,700 female journalists working across all media platforms found sexism and sexual harassment towards women is a systemic problem in African newsrooms, with 71.8% of female journalists having experienced some form of sexual harassment, up from 62.4% in the 2005 survey.And the research found sexual harassment is not something that women had experienced in the distant past as most of the sexual harassment had happened in the last three years. “Contador Harrison we’re talking about sexual harassment being experienced by a whole range of women, senior and junior, metropolitan and regional, and across all media platforms,” one of the researchers said.“The culture in the newsrooms is male-ish, it’s as simple as that,” researcher said. “It is a culture of sexual harassment being accepted.”The survey also found that 73% of respondents thought men and women were not equally represented in senior or decision making levels in newsrooms.But despite a 2014 study finding women occupy just 9% of senior management roles in African newsrooms, and sexual harassment increasing, is as a result of the industry refusal to acknowledge the problem or take action to address it. This proves that media industry has failed to address gender inequality.

Me think they’re completely focused on their business models and how they will continue to make money.The protocols and policies are required, along with support from senior management, the union movement and educators.However there are challenges with getting teachers involved with very few higher institutions of learning and universities including gender issues in undergraduate journalism courses. Africa Universities are being infiltrated by men who have left the industry, older men who are not experienced in gender issues or would not acknowledge that gender is a problem.Also journalism courses had been flooded by women in recent years, and universities had to play a role in ensuring there was a gender balance. At several universities in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, study show journalism teaching faculty is dominated by women.But it’s likely that women are more prone to reporting sexual harassment than they were in the past, with young women expecting a different experience in a newsroom than those who came before them. Sexism had never been appropriate in newsrooms in Africa but its rampant.The researchers also not that young women are reluctant to use the term sexual harassment because it was linked with feminism, and feminism had a bad name among young African women. The continent’s young women do want to be able to challenge these inequalities, but of course in the environment they’ve got in the newsroom today, there are few who would be brave enough to put up their hand and complain.Bottom line, sexism need to be addressed in Africa newsrooms.

Contador Harrison