How to ensure Equal Gender Representation in the Media

How to ensure Equal Gender Representation in the Media

An article written by Aneeta Rattan,Siri Chilazi,Oriane Georgeac,Iris Bohnet titled Tackling the Underrepresentation of Women in Media indicates that around the world, women are far less likely than men to be seen in the media. As subjects of stories, women only appear in a quarter of television, radio, and print news.

This explains why less stories about women are reported in different media platforms across the world and Uganda in general. In turn, this has greatly affected the aspect of political leadership and gender equality, economic growth and women empowerment.

Equally, it has seen more serious topics like gender based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation, defilement among others under reported as the the key victims are often ignored.

Female voices marginalised in media coverage of science in Uganda, both as  authors and sources
A graph showing Female voices marginalized in media coverage of science in Uganda, both as authors and sources (Written by Ivan Nathanael Lukanda

Who is to blame?

Women have studied and can ably give expert views on various topics for economical, religious, political, social and psychological support. However, their views are often untapped as reporters deem them inferior to their counter parts (Men).

Who to blame for the less female representation in the media has for long been a matter of debate. Some people think journalists and media houses have not done enough to balance their sources.

The role of a journalist is to educate the public about events, issues and how they affect their lives. I strongly believe that its within our sole responsibility as journalists to ensure equal representation in the media. For example, if you are to work on a story that needs four sources , have two males and two females. This will give you a balance in ideas or responses as well as hitting gender equality in your reporting.

A personal note about journalism and ethics, moral dilemmas | The Comic's  Comic

This should also be reflected in the general reporting in a particular media house. If you have an agriculture show, how many women as opposed to men are featured?

What is the state of gender representation in media houses? For example, sectors like politics, sports, science, technology and other “complex” sections are usually dominated by men.

In Uganda, the breadth of reporting given to the Uganda Cranes football team (for men) is far higher than that given to the she Cranes yet the latter performs far better in the field.

According to Herman Nyanzi a sports analyst, She cranes is ranked 7th in the World, has qualified thrice for World Cup whereas Uganda Cranes is 82nd but is widely reported on and known country wide.

If journalists take more interest in reporting the women sport as much as they do to male sport, the equality in media can be achieved.

To promote gender equality in the media, there is need to train and empower female journalists to report on these crucial issues. On the same note, media houses should involve women in lead (decision making) positions. This will give them the capacity to promote equal representation in the media.

She Cranes off to South Africa for Africa Netball Championship
She Cranes Ranks 7th best team in the whole world but is still under reported on as compared to Uganda Cranes.

What can be done?

BBC has made an effort to balance gender representation in the media in a campaign dubbed 50:50 project. Their mission is to create journalism and media content that fairly represents our world.

We can all pick a leaf from this, an effort to promote equal gender representation in the media can only be achieved if we (the journalists and media houses take the drive).

Its from us that women will feel safe to tell their stories, that fallacies in certain cultural beliefs will be broken, that women will get empowered to speak up, that an equal system in all sectors can be created.

So who is to blame for un equal gender representation in the media? I blame the journalist and media houses. And with affirmative action, we will break this norm.

Reach me at [email protected] with ideas on how we can achieve equal gender representation in the media.

Watch the video below to learn more about Equal Representation in the Media

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