A recent study conducted by Gender Links Botswana has provided that women are rarely represented in media houses in Botswana, other than men who constitute a percentage of 58% against a low 42% of women.
‘The Glass Ceilings: Women and Men in Southern Africa Media’ study took place as in the context of the August 2008 Southern African Development (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development, which urges the media and all decision making bodies in the region to achieve gender parity by 2015. The gender protocol also calls for the mainstreaming of gender in all media laws, policies and training.
The study is based on research in five media houses, with a total of 886 employees. The media houses were Mass Media Complex, Information Services, Yarona Fm and Dikgang Publishing Company.
Though the study proved that there were fewer women, the findings however showed that some media houses have exceeded parity, with more women than men. The three media houses are The Voice newspaper with the highest proportion at 55%, followed by Mass Media Complex Information Services at 54% and Broadcasting Services at 41%. Dikgang and Publishing Company and Yarona Fm were seen to “still have a long way to go” at 28% and 26% women, respectively.
Further on, the study showed that women constitute under a quarter of the board of directors, at 24%, managing however to feature prominently in top management, and making up 39% of those in senior management. Also, women were fewer in Editorial departments with only 36%.
According to the study, a quarter of the women cited the difficulty to juggle responsibility as the main reason for fewer women in media houses whereas only 6% cited the same reason. Some 20% of women also said that discouraging working conditions contributed to fewer women than men in Media houses.
A reporter from The Voice newspaper who contributed to the research, Francinah Baaitse, said long working hours and domestic responsibilities have seen many women quit journalism and branch into Public relations. Mmasechaba Mokone of Mmegi shared the same view, adding that “the working hours do not encourage women to apply, and it is exhausting to work for a daily newspaper as well as cope with family responsibilities.”
The study was also conducted in the SADC region, spanning 14 countries. In total the research encompassed 126 media houses in 14 of the 15 SADC countries. Representing 23, 678 employees.
Regionally, the study reflects that there are 59% men compared to 41% women in the media houses.
The study also shows that only two countries in the region reached parity, with Lesotho having the largest percentage of women at 73% against a 27% of men. South Africa followed with a 50/50 proportion of men and women.
Four countries were listed by the study as being below the one third mark, these being Mozambique (27%), DRC with 22% and Zimbabwe at 13%.
Locally, there was a reflection that women are “married” to certain beats. Religion, entertainment/arts/ culture and Health were associated with women as opposed to economics, labour, science and technology and agriculture beats being dominated by men.