Women In the Media – The Majority With A Minor Voice

Landing an entry-level gig in a newsroom for Sudanese women is a an easy task but attaining higher positions once inside is near impossible, media organizations in Sudan have said.

Afghan presenters record their morning programme at the Zan TV station (women's TV) in Kabul, Afghanistan May 8, 2017.  REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Discrimination against women in the media room has resulted in a high turnover and a vacuum of coverage for women-related stories.

Female journalists in Sudan make up 60 percent of the total number of people who work in the industry, according to the Sudanese Journalists Union, however very few manage to reach editorial positions.

Sabah Adam represents one of the few Sudanese females in media who managed to reach the top as the former chief editor of the daily Citizen newspaper, representing only one of two female editors in the entire country at the time. “I think women are not in higher positions -not because they are weak or anything, but only because of the guardianship approach that is in our institutions,” says Adam.

Male colleagues in the media routinely doubt women’s abilities, Adam said. “For example, people say; women cannot work till late or even travel abroad [like men],” she said. ” This is not true [but] this situation has continued and does not give them a chance to upgrade their careers.”

Landing an entry-level gig in a newsroom for Sudanese women is a an easy task but attaining higher positions once inside is near impossible, media organizations in Sudan have said.

Discrimination against women in the media room has resulted in a high turnover and a vacuum of coverage for women-related stories.

Female journalists in Sudan make up 60 percent of the total number of people who work in the industry, according to the Sudanese Journalists Union, however very few manage to reach editorial positions.

Sabah Adam represents one of the few Sudanese females in media who managed to reach the top as the former chief editor of the daily Citizen newspaper, representing only one of two female editors in the entire country at the time. “I think women are not in higher positions -not because they are weak or anything, but only because of the guardianship approach that is in our institutions,” says Adam.

Male colleagues in the media routinely doubt women’s abilities, Adam said. “For example, people say; women cannot work till late or even travel abroad [like men],” she said. ” This is not true [but] this situation has continued and does not give them a chance to upgrade their careers.”

Other female journalists view the plight of Sudanese women more holistically. “I see the problem affecting the whole society, it isn’t only facing female journalists,” said Shamael al Noor, a journalist and columnist. Al Noor recently went under attack by hardline Islamists in Sudan for writing a column that criticized government health policies. “We cannot get an answer to the question as to why women journalists are not in better positions without answering the bigger issue: why women in all the institutions are not getting upgraded?”

Higher positions for female journalists is key, Adam says, not only for more balanced coverage but also for women’s protection. According to Human Rights Watch, Sudanese security forces have used sexual violence, intimidation, and other forms of abuse to silence female human rights defenders across the country last year.

Lubna Abdullah, a journalist for the leading daily, Al Jareeda, decided to launch a support group for female journalists after observing the plight of her colleagues.

Source: allafrica.com

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