THE WAY FORWARD
• Women need to purpose to grow and succeed in media and not cap their pens too soon.
• There is a need to apply progressive gender policies in media employment. Employers in the media need to make sure that it is a protector of human rights, by implementing gender-sensitive policies.
• Living in a patriarchal society where men are socialised to look down on women, there’s need to re-structure such thinking to accommodate women in media.
• Women, especially those who are qualified, need to claim these plum positions and not shy away from applying for them
|Caroline Mutoko of Radio Africa is one the few women in the top-management level in the media.|
If there is one field that women are still highly underrepresented, that would be the media. This puzzle is proving too difficult to solve, writes Njoki Chege
However, women remain heavily under-represented at top-level media management.
While there are few women who manage to shatter the glass ceiling, most simply remain in middle-level positions, or quit altogether after a few years.
In Kenya, the number of women in top-level management is too small, almost negligible.
Thus begs the question, why is this the case in this day and age?
Dr Haron Mwangi, executive director of The Media Council of Kenya, attributes this situation to the unfriendly nature of the job.
“There are many rigours on the job and heavy conditions to keep these jobs. On top of that, women have family responsibilities and sometimes it becomes demanding, causing some to stop working and venture into new careers such as public relations,” he says.
Dr Mwangi also points out the ‘scratch my back, I scratch yours’ factor that forces women who want to get to the top to compromise their values for the sake of those top level management positions.
“Many media owners also don’t believe that women can do a good job. They are under the wrong perception that a man can do a better job, which becomes a disadvantage to women who want to get to the top,” he notes.
This trend is not only happening locally, but internationally as well. In Germany for instance, women in media have put up an agressive fight to ensure their representation in top-level media management.