The Female Journalist Association of Liberia (FeJAL) on Thursday, June 20, 2019, held a one-day panel discussion under the theme, “Setting a Targets for Increasing Women’s Representation in the Media.”
The day-long event brought together development partners with some of the media executives, among them female journalists and interns discussed the Effect of Sexism on Women’s Ambition; Women Journalists’ Role in Influencing the Real World, and Gender Mainstreaming: Eliminating the Gender Gaps in the Media,” and to design strategies and ways forward to increase women participation in the 21st century.
Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender; it systematically and primarily affects women and girls. It has been linked to stereotypes and gender roles.
The event was organized by FeJAL to further ensure media executives craft policies in their various newsrooms that will create an enabling environment for female journalists to excel.
During an interactive discussion, one of the panelists, Raymond Zarbay, of ECOWAS Radio, informed participants that while it is true that media sexism remains a serious challenge to women’s ambition in the media landscape, women need to take up responsibility at all times at various media houses.
According to him, if the number of women in the media must be increased, it depends on them, adding, “This will increase the competition at executive levels with their male counterparts.”
Zarbay, who spoke on the topic, “Gender Mainstreaming: Eliminating the Gender Gaps in the Media”, also noted that female journalists should understanding the media terrain, as well as nurture mutual understanding between themselves and their male counterparts.
Frank Sainworla, an experienced Liberian journalist, recalled how nowadays most female journalists lack passion for the profession, something which according to him, has contributed to the huge gap between them and their male counterparts over the years in the media.
Facia Harris, a female journalist, said the history of women in the media, and in different professions, has not been an equal place for both men and women.
According to her, women have over the years been discriminated against, causing some of them to abandon the profession, leaving gaps and disparities at various media institutions.
“For women in the media to influence the real world, there is the need for their male counter parts to encourage the females at all levels. Ms. Harris described women’s role in the media as “progressive and must, therefore, be given keen attention by media executives.”
She stressed the need for women to be given the chance to host talk shows, have a special column in the print media, as well as raise a lot of issues that affect them in society.
FeJAL was founded in 1998 as an auxiliary of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) with the aims to promote press freedom, protect the rights of female journalists, as well as encourage more women to venture into the media spectrum.