I am one enthusiastic woman, heavily supporting the two-thirds gender rule being pushed for in parliament. For a change we are not focusing on blows being handed down by opposing political figures to their playmates.
However, I frown when I look at how misrepresented women are in the media houses. The Kenyan media sector has been in existence for over 100 years yet the voice of women is still being stifled to date. The international sphere is run by men and so the agendas of the other gender are rarely addressed with the seriousness they deserve. Out of the 110 media owners, how many are women? Do we ever wonder how many women are even at top-media management levels in Kenya or do we just join the bandwagon and scrutinise the female news anchors searching for flaws to belittle them?
It saddens me to read statistics stating that only 19% of views read or heard in the media are by women. To what extent will the women continue being marginalised? Forgive me for pulling my feminism hat on but if only men’s views matter then how is gender empowerment ever to thrive? Are we fighting a lost cause? Sadly, the views often perceived to be important are those of men yet they claim to be at the forefront championing for gender equality. At the education level, only one out of every five journalism graduates is a man. Paradoxically, the creme De la creme of media are men!
This fungus is widespread across all media houses. Only a handful of female news anchors, reporting prime time news, still have hairline; constantly adorning weaves and thick makeup to bring to lure an audience. Media houses thrive on high ratings. What does this mean for the female journalists that stand in front of the camera? Do they have to continue being plastic to remain relevant to the media houses? Whatever happened to Catherine Kasavuli? Grew too old to captivate audience? How many female writers have their stories taking the lead in the newspaper hard news section?
Women are not to be viewed as objects of desire. I long to see more women take charge, not just host shows or write feature stories or fashion columns, but rather be more involved in development and policy-making within the top level in the media. Moreover, the media houses have a mandate to educate their personnel on equal treatment of female and male news makers. More airtime should be dedicated to informative shows that advocate for social change to enable the girl child rise in society without being discriminated.
My rant for the week!