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Breaking Barriers: Women Journalists’ Struggle

Activities of women in most African traditions have either been ignored, condemned, or consigned into some obscure corners of their history.

The situation is either intentional or developed unwittingly to the disadvantage of women in what they do.

Recently, while some women have struggled to come out of the traditional quagmire, some advocacy groups have also developed liberative programmes to create awareness on their rights and responsibilities.

AMC

At the recently held Third African Media Convention in Accra, Ghana, women’s participation was encouraging, with a considerable number of women journalists, editors, retirees, and media executives in attendance.

Internally, women were represented in various roles, including speakers and panelists. They also led discussions on diverse topics, sharing their insights and experiences.

Africa

Women from different African countries attended the convention, engaging in discussions and networking with colleague women journalists again moderating sessions, ensuring smooth and productive discussions.

Missing Link

The only missing action at the convention was that women Journalists were not provided a platform to share their challenges to highlight the importance of gender equality in the media industry.

One may say it was not women journalists’ convention, but gender equality in the media industry was also affecting the freedom of female journalists in Africa.

Discrimination?

For centuries, journalism has been a male-dominated profession, with women facing significant obstacles to the entry and advancement. Despite progress in gender equality, the media industry remains male-dominated, with women often facing discrimination and biases in salaries and promotions. Women journalists are frequently given less prestigious assignments or relegated to “soft” news.

The challenges faced by women in the media industry are multifaceted. Gender discrimination, underrepresentation in decision-making roles, workplace bullying, and harassment are just a few of the hurdles women journalists must overcome.

Women were often excluded from leadership positions in media organizations, making it difficult for them to have their voices heard and advance in their careers.

Contributions

Despite these challenges, women journalists have made significant contributions to the media industry, shaping the narrative, and advocating gender equality and social justice.

However, more needs to be done to address the systemic barriers that prevent women from succeeding in journalism.

To create a more inclusive and diverse media landscape, media organizations must prioritize gender equality and address the challenges faced by women journalists.

This includes providing training and resources to support women in leadership positions, addressing wage inequalities, and creating a safe and healthy work environment.

Women journalists around the world continue to do impactful, covering vital issues. Moreover, the media industry must recognize the double burden that women journalists carry when doing their job, reporting on sensitive issues, and facing gender-based discrimination.

Recommendations

Collaborative efforts are necessary to protect the rights of women journalists and foster a society free from discrimination by amplifying the voices of women journalists and addressing the systemic barriers that prevent them from succeeding and create a more inclusive and diverse media landscape that truly represents the voices and perspectives of all.

To bridge the gap, we must engage with women journalists from partner organizations and address the imbalance of men and women in leadership positions, which leads to women being excluded from promotions.

Young women journalists need role models and mentors to advance their careers, and there must be a culture that supports women balancing work and family responsibilities. The working conditions for women journalists are often unhealthy and unsafe, and there is a significant lack of awareness about gender discrimination.

Recognizing the double burden that women journalists carry, it is crucial in tackling gender inequalities in our societies. Training and resources must be provided to support women journalists in their careers and create a more inclusive media industry.

A training recommended specifically for women journalists on physical, psychological safety, is crucial to address these challenges since women journalists still need to overcome several challenges and threats in the industry.

One female Journalist   Grace Addai in the newsroom of one of a prominent media organization shared her experienced and struggles in a professional dominated by men.

She recounted how she was assigned to cover “soft” news, while her male colleagues were given the more prestigious and challenging assignments and the wage inequality she faced, despite having the same qualifications and experience as her male counterparts.

She called for change, saying women must support each other and demand equal opportunities because they have a unique perspective to offer, and our voices matter.”

To address this issue, a collective effort was necessary, and a significant challenge persisted in gender inequality to protect women journalists’ rights and foster a discrimination-free society.

A new era has dawned, where women journalists could thrive, free from discrimination and empowered to tell the stories that need to be told.

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