VWGR Urges Kenyan Media To Always Speak To Female Leaders, Not Just on Gender Stories

By Diana Ithiru

Concerns have been raised on the way the media treats female leaders who are mostly invited as panelists when discussing issues facing their gender.

As compared to men who are always invited or interviewed on various subjects, women are mostly interviewed when media stations are covering gender topics.

“The media must respect the professions of female politicians and not just have them as panelists when discussing women’s issues said Sammy Muraya, the Program Manager at Voice for Women and Girls’ Rights Kenya (VWGR-K), a project of Journalists for Human Rights (JHR).

Muraya’s concern is based on media interviews on TV, Radio and even quotes sought by print journalists who mainly turn to men on diverse subjects but prefer to speak to female leaders on gender topics.

“We have female leaders who are lawyers, food security experts, doctors among others,” Muraya said “And we can have them invited to discuss the issues in the media and not always turn to the men as experts and analysts.”

A senior editor with a local TV station who spoke to Capital FM News agrees that most panelists on Kenyan screens and even on radio are men.

“To me, it is all about accessibility,” he said, “it is easier to get a man to speak about an issue on short notice as compared to women.”

Another TV Editor who spoke to us on condition that we will not reveal his identity said more men are interviewed on TV’s due to the “social-cultural disadvantages that have been visited on women over time”.

A report on the Kenyan media titled “The Gender Agenda” states that “given the media is the most authoritative source of information on many issues, the media in Kenya continues to deny women their rights to recognition and development which are fundemantal human rights.”

The media, the report states, “does this by failing to give voice and appointment to women in positions of authority.”

Source: Capital FM

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