Botswana: Gender in media education takes root

Botswana: Gender in media education takes root

Date: August 19, 2015
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Gaborone, 17 August: Media training institutions are taking “gender equality in and through the media” – the slogan of gender and media activists – to new heights. The recently ended SADC Gender Protocol@Work Summit 2015, in Gaborone Botswana, witnessed seven institutions of higher learning from Malawi, South Africa Mauritius, Mozambique and Zimbabwe share best practices on gender in media education.

Clayton Moyo, broadcast journalism instructor at the National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe noted that institutions need cooperation, partnerships and multi-prong approaches to achieving gender. “Change is not an event but a process and if institutions are not seeing immediate change they need not be deterred but carry on. Institutionalising gender work, is one of the ways you can sustain these kind of processes.”

Patricia Kole, a gender and media activist from Botswana commented that,”gender mainstreaming has to grow beyond the walls of the journalism departments if it is to survive. We want this to spread in the institutions.”

Virginia Muwanigwa, media trainer and gender and women rights activist from Zimbabwe noted that, “mainstreaming gender must not be left in the hands of a few lecturers who have interest in the topic because when these gender aware personnel leave the institutions will begin to lack. Therefore the efforts must be attributable to the institutions for the sack of sustainability.”

In 2009 -2010, Gender Links conducted the Gender in Media Education in Southern Africa (GIME) audit, which covered 25 institutions in 13 countries including Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The study found that only 28% of institutions of higher learning had gender policies that provide a blue print for the attainment of gender equality at all level student enrolment in all faculties and for mainstreaming gender in teaching and curriculum development and research and 44% had sexual harassment policies.

The study also found that men constitute 62% of media education and training staff in the region, compared to 38% women, yet women are the majority of media students at 61% versus 39%. This ratio of male to female staff and students is inversely proportional, and suggests that there is a need for more female academics.

The case studies show that from the time of the audit to date there are improvements in this sector. Some of the institutions have adopted are implementing their gender policies and sexual harassment policies. University of Malawi-The Polytechnic indicated that in its last curricula review it mainstreamed gender into its curricula to afford lecturers and students gender aware teaching and learning.

All institutions noted that they are increasingly encouraging female students be involved in more technical courses like photojournalism, television and radio production and play more diverse and non-stereotypical roles.

Students are increasingly taking up gender as an area of research. The research is widening in scope to include other sexual orientations and gendered identities. Lecturers are also taking up researches on gender and able to guide students accordingly. This is increasingly adding to the body of knowledge on gender and the media in the region.

Gender Links is undertaking a follow up to the GIME study in 2015 to measure and quantify the progress institutions of higher learning have made to address gender inequalities over the past five years.

Tarisai Nyamweda is the Senior Media Programme Officer at Gender Links. This article forms part of the Gender Links News Service special coverage of the SADC Protocol@Work Regional Summit in Botswana.



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