Amwik marks 40th anniversary, seeks better terms for media women
What you need to know:
- Amwik has nurtured female journalists into media executives, senior journalists, investigative reporters, and award-winning reporters.
- The journey to removing the barriers bedevilling women in the newsrooms is, however, still on.
The Association of Media Women in Kenya (Amwik) on Tuesday celebrated its 40th anniversary with hopes for an improved working environment.
From the push to have women retained in decision-making organs, concerted efforts to end sexual harassment to mentorship programmes for female journalists, the celebrations provided a platform for media stakeholders to coalesce support for equality and equity.
“One thing we are celebrating today is that though we have few women at the decision-making table in our newsrooms, for sure we know that we have no shortage of competent women professionals in the media,” said Amwik executive director Judie Kaberia.
While Amwik has nurtured female journalists into media executives, senior journalists, investigative reporters, and award-winning reporters, the journey to removing the barriers bedevilling women in the newsrooms is, however, still on.
“Sexual harassment, pay disparities, and career stagnation still undermine the worth of female journalists and push them out of the newsroom prematurely,” Ms Kaberia decried.
“[But] we are not crying over them. We are talking about them because we have been facing and addressing them as they come.”
The association has instituted an ad hoc committee on anti-sexual harassment in the media whose work is to strategise for sustainable ways of tackling the plague.
It has established a model anti-sexual harassment policy to be adopted by media houses to create transparent and accountable mechanisms for addressing the crime.
Partnership with EU envoys
Ms Kaberia said Amwik has partnered with European Union female ambassadors to roll out a one-year mentorship programme aimed at cultivating empowered female workforce in the newsrooms.
As part of its 40th anniversary celebrations, the organisation will on Thursday unveil its new look, constitution, and strategic plan (2021-26).
Last year, a Kenya Media Sector Working Group meeting at Maanzoni Lodge in Machakos County resulted in 13 resolutions dubbed ‘Maanzoni Declaration’.
The 10th resolution calls for affirmative action to ensure more women are not only recruited but also given equal opportunities at the workplace.
Further, the 11th resolution demands “that a sector-wide intervention to address any sexual harassment within the media space be urgently undertaken”.
Tracking gender diversity
Kenya Union of Journalists secretary-general Eric Oduor said it is time to develop a tool for tracking and monitoring gender diversity and inclusion in the newsrooms.
He said the recent demotion of two female executives was a step backward in the journey to bridging the gender gap in executive management.
“We need to ensure that once we have promoted them, we do not drop the ball,” he said.