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Women in the Media in Mozambique

Ensuring an active involvement of also women in the media sector, is of major importance when working to strengthen pluralism, democracy, human rights and representative and adequate content in the media.

When commissioning the Media Project's background study, the "Media Pluralism Landscape Study", at the time of the start of the project late 1998 it was therefore stressed that all data needed to be gender segregated, and a special section of the study addressed the issue of women's involvement in the media sector in Mozambique, their educational background and their position in the media hierarchies.

With a 24% representation of women in the media sector and 18 % of all middle to top management positions being held by women, the picture identified was more positive than in many other countries all over the world. When looking at the educational background of the women, however, it was found that it was generally much weaker than for their male colleagues. Also a much higher percentage of free-lancers and unpaid volunteers were women, and women were found to have much less access to training, to travels and other capacitation activities than their male colleagues.

The media project therefore decided to - besides from generally working to  consciously gender-mainstream all activities - develop a number of specific activies to strengthen the role of women in the Mozambican media:

  • Development of a training course on "Gender Sensitive Reporting" (word / pdf) - for male and female journalists and editors,
  • Organisation of a training course / workshop for women journalist on career development and professional empowerment,
  • A women specific component in the project's second phase including: study grants, travel grants, a management coaching programme and 'stepping stone courses' for junior women journalists.


Strengthening the Role of Women in the Media in Mozambique

When working to find ways - within the project and beyond - of enhancing the role of women in the media within our phase II, it was necessary to initially identify clearly "who is out there" on the one hand: who are the women working journalistically in the media, what are their roles and which are their needs for capacitation and exposure to take the needed steps for an equal and fair representation in the media and career ladders.

On the other hand it would be useful to have a clear identification carried out of which are the main reasons that the perspectives, experiences and even voices of women are so rarely heard? What can and should be done for the media ot address and realise the importance of reflecting the reality in the media including the core half of the population made up by women - also knowing that "if you educate a man, you educate an individual, if you education a woman, you educate a nation" - and to eventually change the media content in this regard.

Both of these studies were triggered by a study carried out by a subregional study carried out by "Genderlinks", highlighting some of the main challenges for women in the media in - also - Mozambique

With these two studies in the hand, a number of basic facts are clearly identified, and a series of subsequent recommendations have identified the steps to take for our project in moving towards a change in the gender imbalances in the media.

"Listen to Us, Too!" A study by Ruth Ayisi

(Executive Summary follows- see the entire report here)

This qualitative study aims to show the need to encourage more Mozambican women to enter and to stay in journalism, and the need to mainstream gender in media coverage.

The study, carried out by UNESCO, follows on the heals of a gender and media baseline study conducted by Gender Links (GL), an NGO based in Johannesburg, and MISA. The GL/MISA study found that women in Mozambique constitute only 3 per cent of those working in the media, which is far below the regional average of 22 per cent.  Women only constituted 15 per cent of the sources used in the media.

This UNESCO qualitative study involved in-depth interviews with 34 media experts. It was carried out in Maputo, the capital, Beira, in the central province of Sofala, and Nampula, in the north, during the months of October, November and December 2003. In addition to the interviews, a two-hour workshop was held in December with senior women journalists and editors to discuss the study and their views on gender and the media.

The UNESCO study showed that women journalists are especially under-represented in Mozambique’s print media with some newspapers, such as the Sunday newspaper, Domingo, and the Independent, Zambeze, having no women journalists. Others had only one or two women. Most, although not all, editors felt that it was a problem having so few women journalists, but there was no agreement as to how to change this situation.

Most people in the media conceded that it was a difficult profession for both men and women, because of irregular hours and very low salaries. But for women it was harder. Mozambique’s patriarchal society as a whole – though gradually changing -- still does not accept journalism as a profession for a woman. Also, a lot of ignorance exists about the profession and sometimes the right women are not entering the profession. Those women journalists interviewed, who are staying in the profession, generally demonstrated a strong passion for their jobs.

First, the research found that new policies need to be developed and supported in media organizations to keep women in the profession.  And second, the research found that there was a serious lack in understanding about what mainstreaming gender in coverage meant especially among the predominantly male journalists and editors.

See the entire report here