Women Journos Urged to Fight Newsroom Abuse

By Isabel Nyathi

Harare, March 8, 2014-Zimbabwean women journalists have been encouraged to remain in the media fraternity despite challenges they face so as to be the voice of the voiceless.

This was said on Friday by Karen Kelly a Counsellor in the Public Affairs at the United States Embassy during the launch of a report entitled “Power, Patriarchy and Gender Discrimination in Zimbabwean Newsrooms”

Some of the victims of discrimination who were delegates at the function said the country should have gender policies that will provide a conducive environment for both men and women in the newsrooms.

A survey carried out in Zimbabwean media houses and presented by Wellington Radu, the programmes manager of the Media Monitoring Africa revealed that most of the perpetrators of discrimination and abuse are editors, followed by reporters, news sources and camerapersons. The research also established that the majority of Zimbabweans admitted that gender discrimination occurs in newsrooms

The victims were urged to open up so as to find solutions to gender discrimination which is defined by the event co-organisers the Federation of African Media Women Zimbabwe (FAMWZ) as “an unwelcome sexual advance that can range from a suggestion or promise of employment or promotion in return for sexual favours”

Revai Makanje-Aalbaek the Deputy Country Representative of the United Nations Women said the country should strengthen its policies in order to protect women. “The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki- Moon said companies with more women leaders perform better and that should be the case with the Zimbabwean newsrooms”, she said.

She urged women to celebrate the 2014 International Women’s Day whose theme is ‘Inspiring change-equality for women is progress for all’ with the hope getting rid of negative behaviour.

In his International Women’s Day message Ban Ki Moon said ‘countries with more gender equality have better economic growth and peace agreements that include women are more durable while Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support’.

The launch of the Power, Patriarchy and Gender Discrimination report was in line with this year’s International Women’s Day which is celebrated annually on March 8.