Promoting gender responsive media in Ethiopia

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Gender in the Ethiopian media landscape

A new baseline study focusing on gender in the Ethiopian media landscape by IMS and Fojo will assist projects working to ensure that women are better represented at all levels of media sector organisations and media coverage in Ethiopia.

Fojo Media Institute (Fojo), in close cooperation with IMS (International Media Support), is pleased to announce the publication of a research on gender in Ethiopian Media Landscape through the programme “Media reform in a time of change: Promoting journalism and democracy”. The programme, implemented from the IMS office in Addis Ababa, continues its long-term support for media reform and the professionalisation of journalism and media management in Ethiopia.The new study emphasises the fair and balanced portrayal of women and men in media content where large gaps are observed in that women are disproportionately under-represented in managerial and editorial decision-making positions compared to men. The study finds that most media organisation’s leadership is dominated by male figures, including lack of a gender desk to coordinate reporting on women’s issues and to respond to the needs of women journalists in the newsroom.In Ethiopia, women’s empowerment has been a significant part of the political reform process which began in 2018 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed named women as half of his new cabinet’s ministers. However, it is known that women make up half of the Ethiopian population, but their participation and balanced representation has not yet been guaranteed in many spheres of life, including in the media.According to Elsabet Samuel, IMS Gender in Media Advisor and responsible for Fojo-IMS media professionalism projects, there is a need to enhance women’s representation and better coverage of gender issues.

“Globally and here in Ethiopia, violence against women has surged during the Covid-19 pandemic but female victims’ voices have still been marginalised. Had our media organisations been gender responsive enough, then balanced reports could play a role in becoming the voices to the voiceless,” says Elsabet Samuel.

The aim at the end of the day is to achieve full gender equality for women in the world, which has still not been realised. A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are still not present in equal numbers in business, politics and media.

“The new gender study published by Fojo with IMS seeks to provide some impetus for change in the media to create awareness about gender equality, the rights of women in the society and to advance their empowerment in performing their legitimate positive social role in the society – both at the legislative level and in practice – and for it to take gender rights seriously,” says Elsabet Samuel.

Read the full report here.