An all -African conference on
Gender and Media opened today in Kigali, Rwanda, to debate ways of redressing challenges
facing African female journalists at the workplace across Africa. The three day
conference ‘Empowering African Women Journalists: Stepping Up to the Challenge
of Gender Equality' is organised by the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ)
with the support the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the
Ministry of Information of Rwanda and the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.
Journalists and their unions'
leaders, diplomats and African and international policy makers will discuss a
wide range of issues, including pay gap between genders and working conditions
contained in the Action Plan drafted by the IFJ Gender Council.
The President of the Federation of
African Journalists, Omar Faruk Osman, said the conference is timely and shows
the determination of African journalists' leaders to overcome the present challenges
facing African female journalists.
"These pressing challenges are
best captured in the theme of the conference and the appropriate response
requires a sound understanding of the pressing issues of women journalists both
on the home front and in news rooms across Africa," said Osman. "Discrimination
in pay and poor working conditions remain a reality in media houses and news
rooms, especially against female reporters."
Addressing the conference, the
President of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Jim Boumelha,
welcomed the dynamism and diversity in African journalism. He noted that issues
facing female journalists the world over twenty years such as the pay gap are
still around and called for renewed energy to end inequality.
"Decent work challenge is more
profound for women than for men," said Boumelha. "The pay gap legislation has
failed to suppress the inequality which has proved resistant to redress. It is
time for every one's contribution to bring down the edifice of injustice."
In her message to the conference,
the UN Women Executive Director, Michelle Bachelet, supported the conference's
goal to empower women in African media and to enhance their leadership in all
"African media partnership is
essential to the success of ‘Africa United against Violence against Women' campaign
which is part of the UN global campaign to end violence targeting women by 2015,"
said Ms Bachelet. "You are the voice of the silent and the champions of the
Kamilla H. Kolshus, First
Secretary at the Norwegian Embassy in Uganda, told the conference that Norway
believes in gender equality, media freedom and the promotion of women and
supported the conference's aim to achieve these goals.
The conference was officially
opened by the President of the Rwandan Senate, Dr. Vincent Biruta, who called
for better representation of women in Rwandan media to reflect the progress
achieved in other sectors of the national n the promotion of women in shaping
the destiny of Rwanda.
"Media should be viable sectors
where women can thrive in positions of leadership, in addition to by-line,
voices and images," said Dr. Biruta.
The Rwandan Minister of Cabinet
Affairs in the Prime Minister's Office, Protais Musoni, committed to implementing the
conference's agreed action plan, saying that gender equality will add to the
development of the country and will be part of Rwanda Media Reform process,
which is currently in progress.
For more information, please contact FAJ at + 250 784578393
FAJ represents over 50.000 journalists in 38 countries in Africa