The Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) in partnership with Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) led the ad-hoc committee on sexual harassment for in-house training at Capital FM Kenya. The media house, which has over 110 employees, has started its journey towards adopting an anti-sexual harassment policy.
The Kenya Media Sector Working Group (KMSWG) mandated AMWIK to spearhead efforts to tackle sexual harassment in the media. So far, a model anti-sexual harassment policy has been developed and an ad-hoc committee to lead its adoption across all media entities in the country launched. So far, four media houses have fully adopted the policy amid increased cases of sexual harassment in media houses.
According to research by the WAN-IFRA-Women in News, Kenyan media lead in sexual harassment in Africa at 56%. The lack of anti-sexual harassment policies that protect employees in their workplace was cited as one of the factors that have contributed to the rising number of female journalists who feel unsafe and give up their careers. It also estimates that women in media are 3-to-4 times more likely to experience sexual harassment than men.
The alarming high statistics on female journalists’ harassment are devastating. AMWIK and its partners have been making a call to all media houses to adopt the policy and oversee policies and guidelines that enable women to work effectively and safely in their roles are adhered to.
The policy and ad hoc committees were created as a result of cross-sector efforts to confront the scourge of sexual harassment in the media, which female journalists cite as one of the primary reasons that push them out of the industry prematurely.
“Media houses such as Capital FM who have begun initiating guidelines and policies that protect their employees against sexual harassment should be recognized and applauded,” said AMWIK Executive Director, Judie Kaberia during the engagement.
“Today’s engagement sets the ball rolling on us ensuring that we have well-trained staff on the realities of sexual harassment and the realization of a harassment-free organization,” expressed Capital FM Human Resource Manager, Everest Bulinda.
The in-house training at Capital FM provided an opportunity for the staff to engage members of the ad-hoc committee which included, Tom Mboya from Kenya National Community Media, legal counsel Ibrahim Oduor from Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ), Judie Kaberia, and Lilian Museka from AMWIK.
By Mercy Wairimu- Intern, AMWIK