Kenya: New research uncovers status of women in political news

  on March 08, 2014

Only 18% of the views in political news published or broadcast in Kenyan media are from women, a new report by the African Woman and Child Feature Service reveals.

This is one of the astounding findings from media monitoring research undertaken during the 2013 Kenyan elections period.

"The monitoring happened at a time when the country was in intense political campaign mood. Media coverage was especially defined by the presidential election petition and the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the results as declared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, as well as the formation of the new government.

There was also the politics surrounding the then looming trial of the President and Deputy President by the International Criminal Court (ICC) where they were charged with committing crimes against humanity," the report notes.

As 50% of the electorate, women equally participated in the elections and were just as concerned about the controversies surrounding the outcomes. In quantifying the extent of the marginalization of women's views and opinions, the research lends credibility to claims by female politicians and gender advocates that women get unfair treatment in media coverage of political issues.

The research analyzed 922 political news reports published or broadcast over a two-month period in Kenya's major television, radio and print media.

The research also found that although more women than men are employed in Kenyan newsrooms, women as far less visible as journalists and reporters, and acutely so in political news stories.

The report will be useful for media practitioners seeking to become more conscientious about applying a gender lens in their approach to professional ethics. It is also a tool for gender equality and women's rights advocates engaged in increasing media accountability to women. 

The research was carried out in partnership with WACC.

Access the report here.

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March 08, 2014
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Beijing +20: In my opinion...

The most important contribution that the Beijing Platform for Action has made to advancing gender equality in and through the media is:

Setting global standards to which governments and the media can be held accountable
Bringing coherence to and greater understanding of civil society initiatives on gender, women and media
Raising the profile of work on 'women and media' as important for addressing gender inequalities in women's lived experiences.

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