The Kenyan media has not created safe spaces for women working within the newsroom, Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) Executive Director Patience Nyange has said.
Nyange notes that sexual harassment has been normalised in newsrooms, and there are no proper mechanisms to deal with the vice or to hold perpetrators liable. Some women have failed to report the cases because they are not sure of how to go about it.
“I asked women who have stayed in the newsroom for 30-40 years whether anyone reports cases of sexual harassment and whether people have been convicted. They said they do not report, but negotiate it out. There is a need for us to prosecute that and create a more conducive environment for women to thrive within the newsrooms,” she said on Hot 96 breakfast show.
“We have normalised hugging, let us hug each other in a decent manner.”
According to Nyange, AMWIK now aims at training people within newsrooms to understand what sexual harassment is.
A research conducted by Women in News in 2021 showed that Central America and Africa recorded the highest cases of sexual harassment in the newsroom, 42% and 40% respectively.
Out of the over 2000 media professionals surveyed 40% of women said they had experienced sexual harassment in verbal/or physical form, with 12% of men reporting the same.
The data shows that the leading perpetrators of sexual harassment were fellow employees, supervisors, higher management and news sources respectively, and most of the cases were never reported. A large number of media professionals who reported the cases said no action was taken.
Other than sexual harassment, women have also been found to be missing in the decision-making tables in newsrooms.
“Most women move from media to corporate sector to find a fitting. Our campaign right now is to see more women stay in the newsroom,” Nyange explained.
This is echoed in data from Women in News’s survey, which analysed 192 media companies showed that the number of men in leadership positions is higher than that of women. It showed that in Kenya, 33% of women have leadership positions in the editorial.
Published by Citizen Digital