Women in News (WIN) Africa targets high potential media professionals for 2020

More men than women hold leadership positions in the media industry in the region.

Tifa Research, an African company, recently released a report indicating that women hold only 27 per cent of top management positions in media organizations.

The study further found that only one in four people that are written about or heard of in the media are women.

“Even where they are present, they are oftentimes outnumbered by their male counterparts,” Dr. Nancy Booker, an Assistant Professor at Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications, wrote in the Daily Nation.

According to her, gender ceilings fuel the problem making it harder for female journalists to progress in their career.

Her sentiments are similar to findings from a study from the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) that identified glass ceilings for women in 20 of 59 nations studied.

“Most commonly these invisible barriers were found in middle and senior management levels. Slightly more than half of the companies surveyed have an established company-wide policy on gender equity,” the study titled Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media reads.

“Individuals found in these levels of news company hierarchies are typically responsible for setting company policy, making key financial decisions and overseeing company operations,” the report adds.

In Kenya, the IWMF report revealed that in media companies that were surveyed, there were disparities pertaining to occupational status and salaries.

For example, in top-level management, men were discovered to make approximately 8 times more than women.

Men were also found to outnumber women more than 2:1.

It is on the premise of such studies that the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) set up the Women In News program (WIN).

Women in News currently works with over 80 media companies from 12 countries throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

They include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi, Rwanda, Somalia, Zambia, Zimbabwe,  Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.

Jane Godia, the WIN Program Manger for East and Central Africa, avers that WIN was crafted as a leadership accelerator program for high potential media women.

“The training program is designed to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to enable them excel in their careers. It involves coaching and mentoring as well as skills building through national gatherings and the intense online media management course,” she says.

According to her, the Women in News program that has been running in Africa, Middle East and South East Asia for the past 7 years, has seen over 500 women in media go through vigorous training.

“WIN has proven to be a high impact, sought after program and has transformed the careers of many women in the media industry by addressing the apparent poor representation of women in senior management positions,” she adds.

Applications for the next intake of women journalists from Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are underway.

The deadline is December 15 with prospective candidates expected to have two to three years management experience and be currently working in the media sector.

The intensive, 9-month long career and leadership program for journalists and editors accepts 50-100 applicants annually.