Over the past week, women and men working in the Somali media sector have come together to discuss gender equality, a subject that is sensitive not only in Somalia but worldwide. The events, organised by the Somali Women Journalists Organisation, address women journalists’ working conditions, ranging from equal pay to sexual harassment. We spoke to one of the participants, freelance journalist Zeinab Abdinoor Mohamed.
Fojo: What have you learnt about your rights as a woman journalist?
Zeinab Abdinoor Mohamed: We learnt that female and male journalists have equal opportunities and rights. We also learnt that the women journalists can defend their rights and that there are ways to take action and address challenges faced by women journalists. Also, the perception by the participating male journalists that they are better than female journalists is now a story of the past.
Fojo: Why is it important to hold trainings like this one?
Zeinab Abdinoor Mohamed: This equality training has changed the perception amongst female journalists that they cannot have the same opportunities as their male counterparts. The female journalists have learnt their rights and obligations – we now know how to seek justice in case our rights are violated. It also changed the attitude of men towards women. The attitude of the male journalists that attended the training has totally changed.
Fojo: What else would you like to learn as a woman journalist?
Zeinab Abdinoor Mohamed: I would like to get more skills that can help transform the mainstream view on gender. I would also like to gain more insights that can support community engagement in gender equality, to change the perception and stereotypes created through by bad traditions that women are not equal to men.
IMS & Fojo’s Media Programme in Somalia supports the professionalisation of the media in alignment with the values and practices of freedom of expression and media independence as key pillars of democratic state building. The programme is funded by Sida and co-funded by Danida.