Too few women in Kenyan media – report

March 8, 2014 3:43 pm
Journalists at a past demonstration on Nairobi streets to protest new regulations. Photo/FILE
Journalists at a past demonstration on Nairobi streets to protest new regulations. Photo/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 8 – A new survey by the African Woman and Child (AWC) Feature Service indicates that only 33 percent of journalists are women compared to 67 percent of men.

The survey further shows that women voices are not visible in the media whereas men were found to be the main sources of information and were covered highly in all scopes of news stories.

The report reflects how women in the media industry continue to be marginalised in news media content having only 18 percent of those who were read, heard or seen in political news as women.

“Kenyan men continued to dominate the media space, with women being pushed to the sideline when it came to whose views shape political news,” it reads.

Speaking on Saturday at the launch of a book titled ‘Kenya Media and Women in Political News’, AWC Director, Arthur Okwemba stressed that the media has the power to influence change in private and public decisions, especially when promoting gender balance in respect to politics, social, economic sectors of the nation.

“Women are under re-presented in media either as sources or as employees; freedom of expression that is central to the function of democracy guarantees the right of both men and women in all diversity and the right to participate and be heard in all matters touching on their lives is rarely enjoyed,” he said.

He added that progression towards inclusion of women in news media as sources and employees, especially in management positions has been painfully slow.

He hopes that with this study practical data on the treatment of women and men views in the media, which will stimulate debate on how best to address the gap shall be provided.

The study shows although there are more women than men in media houses, the percentage of stories on television, radio, and newspapers, done by female journalists was 32 percent compared to 53 percent by male journalists.

Programs Officer, Rosemary Okello shares the same sentiments where she emphasises on the need for media operation scrutiny.

“Media is the watchdog of the society but rarely are they watched, so when we do a recall data that show cases that they are actually discriminating against one gender in terms of reflecting them properly, seeing them as a source and articulating their issues, where else can we start when the moral authority of the media use is the reflection of the society?”

A total of 922 news reporters from various media houses were monitored to gauge the representation of voices in the news.

Monitoring took place between April and May, 2013.


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