‘I couldn’t meet my bosses sexual wish and lower my dignity or break-up my family. I was repeatedly bullied and feared that for my own security I would almost leave my job. Misogyny is discouraging and can lead one to leave journalism’.
In a male-dominated news industry, African women struggle against gender bias and ingrained patriarchal prejudice to secure positions as journalists in the first place. When they do, they find a broken system that impedes their progress at every step of their careers. Some suffer in silence, and others are hounded out of the profession.
Many of the stories shared by women journalists in this report are shocking. Still they describe the everyday life of women who try to forge their way through the journalist profession in sub-Saharan Africa. This is not news – we already knew that this kind of abuse exists – especially after the #MeToo movement, but this report shows that the patriarchal and sexist patterns in the news media industry are common across countries and regions. This is bad, of course, but the insights can be used to advocate and work for change.
On a more positive note, the study highlights that many women journalists possess a great passion for journalism as a force for good that keeps them going against all the odds.This study aims to give them a voice and act as a rallying call to those who can and should weigh in on their side.
The study is a joint publication by Fojo Media Institute (Fojo) and African Women in Media (AWiM) which was made as part of the project, Consortium for Human Rights and Media in Africa (CHARM). The study surveyed 125 women journalists from 17 different African countries.
The objective of the study was to assess the status of women in journalism in Sub-Saharan Africa. The research shows that barriers exist at various points in the professional and personal life cycles. The main barriers and challenges faced by the respondents in this study were:
- Job stagnation and salary discrepancies for women in the media,
- Disparities between men and women in the distribution of job roles,
- Sexual Harassment, Bullying and Sexism,
- Family Life, and
- Women in media and leadership.