A non-profit organization called Somwim (Somali Women In Media) recently carried out a survey focusing on women’s role in the media landscape in Mogadishu and the various challenges faced by women journalists in their jobs. Over twenty media outlets participated in the sample study.
According to Somwim, there are 676 journalists in Mogadishu alone. Out of this number, 521 (78%) are men, whereas 155 (22%) are women. The overwhelming male majority indicates the lack of gender representation in the field of media in Mogadishu.
The organization found that women are significantly underrepresented in media and often times, their lack of representation isn’t acknowledged due to their presence not being perceived to be of value.
The findings of the survey indicate that women feel a lack of support from their male counterparts and employers. The latter are found to still hold outdated cultural beliefs to justify the mistreatment of women in the workplace.
There were several male directors that took part in the survey who stated that there was no gender misrepresentation in their newsroom, despite not having any women journalists part of their teams. When asked why women were underrepresented in media in Somalia, one of the answers Somwim received from the male respondents was that “the inequality is caused by lack of hard work and determination by women”.
The women respondents identified three main reasons as to why there is a significant gender imbalance in their respective workplaces. Firstly, women are deemed to be less effective in the workplace. Secondly, women are believed to be unable to work the same hours as men. And lastly, it is thought that women have reduced knowledge capacity as compared to their male counterparts.
According to Amnesty International’s 2020 report on media freedom in Somalia, women journalists have less access to career developments and trainings, face discrimination in the workplace and are not given enough employment benefits compared to their male counterparts.
Read Somwim’s survey here.