Post Conflict reporting in Kenya (3 articles)

Date: January 1, 1970
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The images show some of the election-related violence that occurred in Kenya in December 2007. They picture men both engaging in violence and making high-level decisions, and women as helpless victims.

This article may be used to:
1)     Illustrate that women can be particularly affected by abuse and violence if things go wrong in the country;
2)     Show how media uses stereotypical images of men and women in situations of conflict and violence;
3)     Illustrate how the media feeds common perceptions around men and women’s roles and behaviour; and
4)     Engage in debate around men and women in leadership, and why most women are not seen as leaders.
Trainer’s notes
The newspaper carrying these photographs displays a lack of gender awareness. It is a fact that a picture can often say more than words. Looking at the pictures, women are being portrayed as the victims at all times. They are the victims of rape, robbery, and poverty. On the other hand, men are shown either as violent and aggressive or successful decision-makers. The images misrepresent men by insinuating that they can only lead, rob and fight. Women are also misrepresented, and shown as weak and running away from the problem.
During crisis situations, the media often shows these kinds of images. Men are most often the main subjects of news related to conflict, either as aggressors or decision-makers, and women are most often shown on the sidelines as helpless victims. These kinds of images deny women agency to affect change, and are disempowering. They also ignore the fact that men are also victims in conflict, and that men can play roles other than aggressor or diplomat. Are women supposed to stay at home and take care of the house at all times? Are men better leaders than women? There is not a single woman in the image depicting the decision-makers. What does that say about women and leadership? Women are presented as housewives who are powerless and cannot stand up for their rights. They are not involved in making decisions around what’s best for the country.
Discussion Questions
1)     Do women make good leaders? Why or why not?
2)     Will the country have a better chance if the leadership involves both genders?
3)     What impact does this kind of sentiment have on the rights of the men and women?
4)     Are women prepared to stand up and make a change? Are men?
5)     Does the media have a responsibility to show balanced images of men and women?
6)     How do you think these kinds of images affect common perceptions about men and women?
7)     What other images could have been used?
Training Exercises
1)     Conduct some research on how electoral conflict is being dealt with in other countries and what exactly is the best way to handle it.
2)     Research how can a crisis in the country causes dispute? And give maybe example from our very own South Africa.
3)      Interview people in your community about women in leadership. Do they think women can lead? Should women be given a chance to lead? What do they think about the women in their country’s parliament?
4)     Hold a debate around media responsibility. Are images like these a fair depiction of the situation? Was the media simply recording what was there? Or should they have looked harder for more balanced images?
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