MIJ Gender Policy


Date: June 11, 2016
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Name of article: MIJ Gender Policy

Name of publication: MIJ FM

Country: Lesotho

Theme:  Gender Equality

 Synopsis

Sum up the situation of the Media House – how far has it come, how far has it progressed, what evidence is there of change.

If possible begin with an anecdote that demonstrates this change.

When MIJ was established in early 2000,women were not provided with equal employment opportunities; and the few that were there were not empowered. In our Programming, women weren’t given airtime to have their say on various issues. But following various training workshops Gender Links has been providing since 2011, MIJ FM drafted its Gender Policy that has been guiding it in all its programmes. As a result, specific Gender Radio programmes were introduced including Gender ku Malawi. In the programme, for instance, women in the run up to the 2014 Elections were given free airtime time to sell their manifestos to Malawians. The Policy also led to the hiring of many women and their empowerment to work in decision-making positions.Currently, three of four MIJ FM’s most influential positions are held by Women; e.g Executive Director and Broadcasting Services Manager.

Challenging tasks to wome like production of programmes are no longer issues following vigorous In-house training Worshops. Furthermore, MIJ now provides its female employees with a three-month-long Maternity Leave every two years. just this year, MIJ introduced a Paternity Leave for its male employees. No wonder, MIJ since 2012 has been recognized by Gender Links as the Malawi’s Best Media COE .

 Key objectives

Please state the key gender mainstreaming objectives of the media house.

  1. a) To ensure that the Media House defend its status as the Best Media Center of Excellence.
  2. b) Ensure that both men and women have equal opportunities for employment.
  3. c) Ensure that both men and women have equal training opportunities that can improve their skills on their current position
  4. d) Ensure that both men and women have equal promotion opportunities to rise into decision-making positions at the Company.
  5. e) Ensure that both men and women have equal opportunities for remuneration (equal to that of men for work of equal value)
  6. f) To ensure that both men and women are provided with equal resources for carrying out their various activities.
  7. g) To provide adequate airtime to women who are doing great in the society so that they act as role models to girls and some fellow women.
  8. To ensure that both men and women are given equal amount of airtime to have their voices heard of various issues affecting the country.

 Background

 Give some background – What was the situation before gender mainstreaming efforts started. Include evidence from

leaders within the institution, and those served by the institution.

As already explained in Question 10 above: When MIJ was established over ten years ago, it did not believe in Gender Balance in all its processes, strategies and programmes. As such, there was no provision of equal employment opportunities to women; there was no empowerment of these women; the women were not provides with an opportunity to have their voices heard on the radio; the radio did not have specific radio programmes to tackle gender issues; and we did not have a gender policy that would guide the radio on how to tackle gender issues. Roselyn Makhambera; MIJ FM’s Broadcasting Services Manager:”Am now happy that the number of women being given an opportunity to take most challenging roles has been increasing over the past three to five years. Before that, only one out of four influential positions here were held by males. But today it’s the other way round. Now we have Executive Director-Dalitso Nkunika, the Course Coordinator-Evelyn Pasanje, and I, the Broadcasting Services Manager are all Females while the only influential position being held by a Male at MIJ FM is that of Finance and Administration Manager which is being held by Mr Athony Phanga.

 Key activities

Please list at least five in bullet form.

To continue using as many female sources as possible in various Radio programmes.

 To continue empowering women with potential to work in challenging positions and others to take challenging roles in a bid to achieve 50-50 representation.

To maintain or even improve favourable policies that will go a long way to protecting the rights and integrity of women within and without MIJ.

To continue providing adequate airtime to women who are doing great in the society so that they act as role models to girls and some fellow women.

 Strengths

What have been the main strengths?

Main strengths have been the ability to motivate, develop, groom females into better Reporters, Presenters or Decisionmakers.

Examples include the likes of Gloria Masanza, who is now Presidential Press Officer who was groomed by the MIJ gender focal person when she was Sub-editor for MIJ before taking her current challenging position. The other example is Yvonne Sundu, who is now the Vice Chairperson for Media Institute of Southern Africa –Malawi Chapter, who was also groomed when she was Sub-editor for MIJ before taking her current challenging position. Apart from the two, MIJ has also developed many female and male media practitioners who are doing a great job within the mainstream media and others that are also working as Communication Officers in some Public and Private Organisations e.g Sylvester Namiwa who is also the Presidential Press Officer, and Steve Chilundu who is now the Communications and Marketing Officer for Nurses and Midwives Organization of Malawi.

Challenges

What have been the main challenges? How have these been overcome? E.g. resistance.

  1. a) A few number of women sources in decision-making positions that are willing to take questions from the media. We have been providing civic education on the need for them to provide the information for they were employed for that; and some have now started to be forthcoming with information.
  2. b) A few number of organisations that have women in positions they can be allowed to talk to the media e.g. Football Association of Malawi (FAM). We have been providing civic education to them through editorial comments to let them know of the importance of having women in decision-making positions.
  3. c) Qualifications and experience – Most women are not well-qualified and vastly experienced to work in some positions that may need to be filled by people with these attributes. To overcome this, we have been advising parents through our Gender Programmes to educate a girl child so that they should be able to handle challenging decision-making positions.
  4. d) The altitude problems that female decision-makers have towards their subordinates. Social activities have been organized on Quarterly basis so as to improve the working relationship amongst workers within MIJ.
  5. e) Lack of adequate funds to produce Gender-related Programmes has been another challenge. We have at times been collaborating with various organizations to fund the production of these programmes.
  6. Women’s empowerment

How have women been empowered as a result of gender mainstreaming efforts?

  1. a) Training workshops have been organised with the help of Gender rights organisations like Gender-Links to empower the female staff workers on how they can tackle some challenging tasks; and also providing them with various skills that would enable them to achieve great things in life
  2. b) Motivation speakers have also been engaged to inspire the female staff members among other women.
  3. c) Influential women in the society have also been engaged in our Gender Programmes on how they achieved their status so as to act as role model to girls and women. Evidence
  4. Gloria Masanza: Presidential Press Officer (Former MIJ FM Editor) -“I think I have managed to reach where I am because of the skills that were imparted to me during either the In-house trainings that were organized at MIJ when I was working there as an Editor. Before that I was such a person who could not believe in myself.”
  5. Men for change

Have men become more supportive of gender equality as a result of the institutions gender mainstreaming efforts? Please give examples.

Most men after learning the importance of Gender Equality to the development of the institution and the country as a whole have become very supportive to Gender Equality. The Head of News and Current Affairs (a man) who is also the Gender Champion at MIJ FM has been emphasizing on the need to have equal number of men and women sources in our News and Current Affairs Programme. He has also been very supportive in encouraging women to take tasks that are regarded specifically for men. If that is not enough, men in the Board of Trustees for MIJ have also been emphasizing on the need to employ equal number of women and men.

Capacity building

How has the training you receive on gender from NGOs, Governments etc helped to build skills, create voice, agency,

enhance leadership and empowerment and inspire journalist?

The training is enabling me and colleagues to be Gender aware which is making as to use the right gender words that cannot injure either women or men. The female employees and decision-makers have also learnt to believe in themselves in whatever they do.

Content

How has the gender training improved quality of programming/ reporting? Please provide examples.

As explained above; Training workshops on leadership have empowered women to do what men do such that the quality of our work has improved in the sense that the number of people carrying out such task has increased with the empowerment of women. Before that, with few men carrying out some tasks like production, the quality was sometimes not good because they were forced to overwork.

Evidence * Brenda Kaonga, Reporter for MIJ FM: “The training workshop especially those provided by Gender Links have helped me to believe in myself that I can do what men can do and do some that some men cannot do.”

Content *

Evidence *

“MIJ over the years has improved in its Programming and Reporting, wherever we go, people always ask us how we are managing to do all these. But we have always boasted to them that it’s all about being empowered to do what you need to do in life.” Talasina Manda: Assistance Broadcaster.

Changes within the work place

Are the gender mainstreaming efforts influencing any changes in power relations at the work place? Please give a few examples.

Yes it is. The relationship between Staff has improved following the Gender Mainstreaming Efforts for everyone knows what to do when and how that can be done

Changes in attitudes

Are audience attitudes changing as a result of the COE work in the media house? Please provide at least one example.

Audience attitudes are changing as a result of the COE work; at first, men used to look at women as those that cannot lead. Some even went further to say that Malawi was – for instance, not ready to be led by a Female President. But now with programmes like Gender Ku Malawi (Gender in Malawi) that MIJ has been producing, the perception has been changing as we have been focusing more on the remarkable contributions that some women have been making to the country’s socioeconomic development.

Maxwell Mbirimtengerenji, a listener from Ntcheu: “In my whole life, the only woman I thought I would respect for the rest of my life was my mother for keeping me in her womb for nine months and for raising me up. But now after listening to Gender programmes on MIJ FM, I have come to learn contributions some distinguished ladies have made to the country’s socioeconomic development; my perception has completely changed, especially seeing a number of women that have made Malawi proud like Joyce Banda, and Anastazia Msosa.

Lesson learned and innovation

What lessons have been learned in the process?

How are these being applied?

Effective gender mainstreaming can occur only if the following are in place:

 A clear gender policy

 Training and capacity building

 Awareness creation and advocacy on gender mainstreaming

 Partnerships and networking for persons and institutions

 Research and information dissemination on gender issues

 Resources mobilization

 Monitoring, evaluation and reporting.

As of now, we are doing everything possible to have all these in place to achieve our goal of mainstreaming gender.

Sustainability and replication

How can these gender mainstreaming efforts be sustained within your organisation?

How can your Media House contribute to replicating process?

The COE work can be sustained by organizing Refresher Training Workshops for the Broadcasting staff for them to learn new issues on how Gender can continue to be mainstreamed at MIJ.

The COE work can be cascaded to other Media Houses through the following;

  • Provision of training to Media Houses on how Gender can continue to be mainstreamed in their institutions.
  • MIJ can also contribute to the cascading process through the National and Regional Summits through presentations on its efforts to mainstream Gender.

  •  Encourage Media Houses to embark on Exchange visits for them to learn from each other.MIJ Gender Policy

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