AbstractThe thesis, “Perceptions of journalists on women access, employment and participation in news production” constitutes an assessment of the situation of female journalists in one of Uganda’s print media, The New Vision. The study connects the problematic relationship thatwomen have with news media, both as subjects and sources of news stories as well as their experiences and status as practitioners within the news industries. The study was concerned over what in this profession makes its practice favour men, in spite of the fact that there is a tendency towards gender balance among journalists. The power issues inherent in journalism were crucial because we say that the media has a power of definition, but who holds the power of definition among the editorial staff and why? Hence, both 'media and gender' and the culture of journalism and their gender dimensions formed a field to be explored.
The study locates and applies the critical feminist perspectives on women and the media and the process of news production as the basis on which the status of female journalists in Ugandan print media will be analysed. The major question the paper tries to answer is, ‘Howdo journalists perceive of women access, employment and participation in news production?’ Hence, informant interviews and document reviews on the situation of women in the media were deemed necessary to generate the answer to the research question.
Results show increased opportunities for women access to journalism schools, the media as well as a recorded success to top editorial posts. However, the organisational structures and policies have proved a barrier to women promotion, career advancement and pay differentials.There was increased coverage of women issues. Women journalists struggled against being pigeon holed to covering soft issues and ventured into hard news like photojournalism, war and investigative reporting. Unfortunately, women voices as news sources remain marginal while negative portrayal of women in the media persisted. Besides the obvious challenge of women as double workers, women journalists continue to encounter sexual harassment and negative attitudes from their male colleagues.
The struggle for equal opportunities in the media workforce should be one that, among other things, fights against patriarchal values and beliefs that perpetuate women subordination, the gendered values embedded within the professional routines, organisational values, policies,economic interests and the politics of ownership. Until all people have equal opportunity in society as a whole, unequal treatment in the news industry will continue.