EDITORIAL: Media should lead private sector in reducing gender gap

In the past few weeks, to celebrate our women, this newspaper has covered the stories of many successful and inspiring women. Many had to overcome an entrenched misogynic and patriarchal environment but in the end their perseverance paid off. Today the country is a poster boy (girl) of women empowerment and reduction of the gender gap.

In the past few weeks, to celebrate our women, this newspaper has covered the stories of many successful and inspiring women.

Many had to overcome an entrenched misogynic and patriarchal environment but in the end their perseverance paid off. Today the country is a poster boy (girl) of women empowerment and reduction of the gender gap.

The government has done its bit; what about the private sector? How are women empowered to get them on the same footing as their male counterparts? How is it in the media sector?

A recent tweet somehow summarised how women are yet to get their rightful seat in the media industry. The Minister of Foreign affairs and Government Spokesperson was briefing the media, but among the mass of journalists in the room, there was just one female.

That seemed to raffle the feathers of someone in attendance ­ and rightly so – who tweeted:

“Only ONE woman journalist at today’s press conference with @RwandaGov Spokesperson. Explains the pervasive misogyny in the media sector. Where are the girls?”

In media associations, women occupy “safe” but non-decision making elective seats such as treasurer and secretary.

In fact, it is not only the media industry that lags behind in gender equity, but the private sector as a whole, apart from family owned businesses.

But the media is an important outpost that informs and influences decision making. If no radio, TV or print organisation has women in decision making posts, but are relegated to the “pretty face” basket on the screen and in marketing departments, how will that impact on their audience?

Let this war of gender equality in the private sector begin in the media, others are surely bound to follow suit.

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