Shortage of women in Malawian Media

The media industry in Malawi still has no young women in Top Jobs. What is the problem?

By Sam Banda Jnr 


It is important that women occupy decision-making positions in the workplace. While lack of access to good education is a big reason why women battle to get ahead, there are some young women who have the necessary qualifications and potential and yet have not been given the chance to try. 

An audit of women and men in Southern African media found out that women constitute 41 percent of all employees in media houses against 59 percent for men, with Malawi reflecting the lowest figures for women. 

The research, conducted by Gender Links in collaboration with the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network and the Gender and Media Diversity Centre of South Africa, found out that Malawi has very few women in the media industry. 

Gender Links did the research in 126 media houses in the 14 SADC member countries, representing 23, 678 employees. 

"Women are underrepresented in Southern Africa media houses. They are not represented at senior management and their representation is low in top decision-making positions," said the audit. 

Executive Director of Gender Links, Colleen Lowe Morna, noted that women media practitioners dominate in what are considered "soft beats" (such as gender issues) while men dominate in "hard beats" (such as politics or crime). 

One media professional said sexist attitudes are typically associated with the profession. 

"We expect women to be at home at 6pm cooking, not at a press conference," he said. 

But on a positive note, the report observes that 68 percent of the media houses indicated that they would consider developing gender policies, showing a commitment to address the problem.