The Media High Council has presented findings from a research on gender status in Rwanda’s media sector that will help in taking further action in gender equality promotion.
The objective of this research conducted by CIBLE Ltd, was to identify good practices for promoting gender, the existing gender gaps in the media sector and propose ways of addressing them.
The findings were presented in Kigali on January 7, 2020 during a validation meeting that brought together media managers, schools of journalism, journalists associations, media partners and Media High Council.
According to the research, the total number of journalists in Rwanda is 1,415 (443 females: 31,3% and 972 males: 68, 7%). However Media High Council reports 1025 accredited journalists made up of 244 female (23,8%) and 781 males (76,2%).
There are 181 media outlets in Rwanda (14TV stations, 33radio stations, 34 print media and 100 online media, the team leader of researchers, Uwimana Jean Pierre, reported saying that 13,7% of the media houses don’t have female media practitioners.
Respondents occupying managerial position, 36% of them think gender status is poor due to the small number of women in the sector, misunderstanding of the concept of gender itself, and the challenging nature of the media sector which make it difficult for women. 39,3% of media practitioners ranked gender status as poor saying there is a lack of mechanisms to protect women against sexual harassment from their colleagues, clients and managers.
Researchers reported that gender gap can be traced from recruiting criteria. 52,8% of respondents claimed that media practitioners are recruited due to their qualification and only 6,2% of media houses take into consideration the gender of candidates.
Why males outnumber females in Rwanda’s media sector
- The number of girls graduating from school of journalism is low compared to the one of boys
- Female tend to fear the media sector due to failure of some media houses to operate because of limited means.
- Some female fear sexual harassment
- Ladies are not given equal chance like their male counterparts and when it happens they are assigned to soft programs and discouraged to explore their potential
- Some female confessed that the media sector is part of the under looked sectors.
- Female practitioners are stressed due to the prolonged working hours
- Females struggle with self-confidence and they choose less exposing careers.
Media partners and schools of journalism commend the improvement in gender status in media due to effort made even if there is a long way to go.
Media High Council has to build the capacity of media outlets in gender issues and facilitate the implementation of gender policy and other regulations related to gender in different media houses.
Media houses are called upon to create a conducive environment for women in media sector taking into account that female practitioners are able to perform well in media sector when empowered. Recruitment of workers should be gender sensitive and have at least 30 per cent of women in managerial positions as stipulated by the Rwandan constitution.247