A recent survey conducted by the Media High Council (MHC), reveals that women account for only 29 percent of journalists in Rwanda, a situation attributed to insufficient efforts on the part of the media to empower women journalists.
As part of efforts to step up the number of women working in the media, MHC has entered into partnership with the Gender Monitoring Office (GMO) to reverse the trend.
The partnership commenced yesterday with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Patrice Mulama, the Executive Secretary of MHC, and Oda Gasinzigwa, the Chief Gender Monitor.
“Many media houses do not have specific policies or strategies on gender empowerment, equality and the sharing of opportunities, thereby limiting the participation of women in media,” Mulama observed.
“Our partnership with the GMO will begin with a general gender audit on the entire media sector to review the challenges faced by both employees and employers, from which we shall then generate a gender mainstreaming strategy”.
On her part, Gasinzigwa said that national gender policies need to be implemented in media institutions to ensure that equality crosscuts throughout the country.
“The media sector must ensure that gender forms part of its ethical code and editorial guidelines, and it must provide skills empowerment to both female and male journalists. GMO will continue to provide technical support and build relationships with private and public entities to effectively monitor gender issues,” she said.
Leticia Isimbi, a journalist with Flash FM, a local radio station, said that often female journalists discarded the profession because they were either not satisfied with the remuneration or lacked necessary skills to confidently perform their jobs.
“Equal consideration for both sexes in aspects such as access to opportunities, upgrading of skills and career development, must be improved in order to provide an equal footing in the media,” Isimbi said in an interview with The New Times.
The partnership between the MHC and GMO was mooted after journalists requested both bodies to work together during a media workshop on June 26, 2010.