Southern Africa: Gender and media under the spotlight

Date: August 17, 2016
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Windhoek, 17 August 2016: Inequality stands in the way of many nations realising their full potential, according to the Prime Minister of Namibia, and only woman prime minister in Southern Africa, Dr. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia.

Speaking at the opening of the fifth Gender and Media Summit in the Namibian capital, the Prime Minister said the “inclusion of women is not a favour” but rather the only way to ensure that full “utilisation of all resources, talents and innovation.”

Approximately 150 participants from 13 Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries are gathered at Gateway Hotel and Conference Centre in Windhoek, from 17-18 August 2016 for the summit. Convened by Gender Links (GL), Southern African Broadcasting Association(SABA) and the Gender and Media Diversity Centre (GMDC)  the two day event is taking place under the banner Empowering Women in and through the Media – Providing a Voice for Gender Equality.”

The summit takes place against the backdrop of the updating of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development to align it with the Sustainable Development Goals, Beijing Plus Twenty and the African Development Agenda 2063. The Post 2015 SADC Gender Protocol will be adopted by Heads of State in Mbabane, Swaziland, next week.

The SADC Gender Protocol calls for gender parity within the media, in decision-making and ownership as well as equal voice and fair treatment of women and men in editorial content Post 2015.

The year 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration on an Independent and Pluralistic African Press. Many Southern African countries commemorate the month of August as Women’s month. August 2016 is therefore an opportune time to highlight the progress and challenges on gender equality in and through the media in SADC.

“We are reminded that gender equality is intertwined by with freedom of expression, participation and human rights. Nothing is more essential to this ideal than giving voice to all segments of the population,” said GL CEO and Chair of the Global Alliance on Gender and the Media, Colleen Lowe Morna.  “The results of the recent regional and global studies are one of the most telling indicators of the gender gaps that still exist in our society.”

On 17 August GL and partners in the Gender and Media Diversity Centre will be launching the second Gender and Media Progress Study (GMPS) consisting of information on gender in media education, gender in media content and glass ceiling in newsrooms.

The gender in media education survey shows that there are there are still fewer women (40%) than men (60%) media trainers, however there are more women (64%) than men (36%) media students in many countries. Women comprise 40% of those who work in the media, but only 34% of managers. However, the proportion of managers has increased from 28% in 2010.

Sadly the media content monitoring shows that there has been paltry improvement in the proportion of women sources in the news, from 19% in the GMPS 2010 to 20% in the GMPS 2015. This ranges from Botswana and Seychelles with 28% women sources, to DRC with just 6% women sources in their content. South Africa has shown little progress, with the proportion of women sources stagnating at 20% over the period.

On Thursday 18 August, participants can look out for fruitful engagements in the parallel sessions by media stakeholders from across the region who will present case studies in four parallel sessions on Advocacy: Global and Regional efforts in addressing gender inequalities in media; Research: Gender and Media Research in SADC and beyond; Media Content: Repurposing media content for the sustainable development of women  and Policies: Gender policies in media houses.

As before, a major highlight will be the GEM Summit Awards taking place at a gala dinner on 18 August. Journalists from 13 countries have submitted 117 entries (49 by women and 68 by men). Submissions included topics such as child marriage, climate change, Gender Based Violence, Women in politics, sexual reproductive health and rights, HIV and AIDS among others. Interviews with winners can be organised upon request.

Journalists from across SADC who were entered and came up top for the GEM Summit awards will present their best practices on good gender aware editorial content and institutional practises. The journalists include:

  • Jairos Saunymama, News Day, Zimbabwe – Print
  • Joseph Mwale, Nation Publications Limite, Malawi- Print
  • Thoko Chikondi, Nation Publications Limited, Malawi- Photojournalism
  • Pennipher Sikainda-Nyirenda, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation- Television
  • Avinash Bissoondoyal, Mauritius Boradcasting Corporation, Mauritius- Television
  • Emsie Erastus-Namibia Broadcasting Corporation-Television
  • Charity Moonga, Times of Zambia, Zambia -Leadership
  • Tshwelelo Mogotsi, Gabz FM, Botswana -Leadership
  • Ts’epang Ts’ita-Mosena, BAM Media, Lesotho- Leadership and Institutional
  • Lloyd Kaisi Phiri- Malawi Institute of Journalism FM, Malawi- Institutional
  • Aurelie Gabriel- Radio
  • Nathalie Didier-Radio

For more information contact: Tarisai Nyamweda on