New study exposes gender bias in East African media

A new report has shed light on a glaring gap in the coverage of women in the media landscape of East Africa.

The study by the Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC) revealed that women are significantly underrepresented in crucial spheres such as politics, economics, business, and entrepreneurship.

Additionally, the research highlighted a concerning trend where a majority of stories covering women are authored by male journalists, indicating a critical imbalance in perspectives and narratives.

The study analyzed six newspapers, six TV stations, and seven digital publishers in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

Despite the gender gap in representation, the report found that the framing of women in news stories was generally positive across newspapers, TV, and digital platforms.

In particular, newspapers were noted for highlighting progressive aspects of women, showcasing their achievements within the context of gender equity.

Interestingly, Uganda emerged with a higher number of stories that positively framed women compared to Kenya and Tanzania.

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Diversity in newsrooms

One of the key findings of the study was the importance of diversity in newsrooms in shaping media narratives on gender issues. The report identified the need for more women in decision-making roles within news organizations to ensure a more balanced and representative coverage of women.

President William Ruto’s Advisor on Women’s Rights, Harriette Chiggai, commended the report for its role in providing data on both traditional and digital media, calling for collective action to address gender disparities in the media.

The Advancing Gender Equality in Media and Civil Society in East Africa (AGEMC-EA) project, implemented by GSMC in collaboration with the Aga Khan Foundation and with support from Global Affairs Canada (GAC), highlights the pivotal role of the media in strengthening women’s empowerment and gender equality.

By amplifying women’s voices, challenging existing narratives, and advocating for gender-inclusive media practices, the project aims to contribute to a more equitable and representative media landscape in East Africa.

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