While the mood seemed right for the first women in media awards, a celebration unique in its kind, “women celebrating women”, the glam would rather be cut short as the hard and loud voices were threatening to become mute even beyond the room.
What seemed a lovely night, that it was, accompanied by splendid looks, outfits, and meals would rather be shuttered by the sad voices screaming; all these years, was it worth my time, effort, and money invested?
Because apparently, even the upcoming research papers have found the answers already to why women journalists will seemingly continue to be paid less even with so much push or even beyond proving themselves.
Fortunately, for the few women invited for the symposium, Sarah Kagingo a board member of the National Association Of Broadcasters (NAB) and also a media stakeholder in the room, would assure us of how the discussions around journalists’ poor pay are those that never make it to the table and that questions of like how to get rid of the brown envelopes are those that have always been grumbled
With over 2000 female Uganda journalists and still to come, the question of whether journalism is worth one’s time is that that urgently needs to be answered.
Kagingo argues that while journalists hold their core values, there was no harm in ensuring that they enjoyed a dignified life by embracing entrepreneurship but also working upon investing in their professional development so as to earn places in decision-making spaces
By women making it to the top positions Carol Beyanga, head of partnerships, monetization, and mentorship nation media group also agreed that women journalists will be able to appreciate what has been done and errors therein so as to enhance better decisions that will impact the sector as a whole.
For Dr. Ruth Aisha Biyinzika Kasolo, project director private sector foundation however, the idea that money was in salaries would not come at the forefront and that if only women started moving away from this narrative and embraced diversity rather than claiming their wealthy status through the immerse contacts, connections, and networks then maybe this would be a better place.
Dr. Aisha notes that with just a contact nothing was more valuable and that journalists needed to start thinking outside the box, add to their skills, and not only report about opportunities but also exhaust the benefits there.
“l earn over shs 20million gross which most of you don’t but am working so hard, sleep so late doing different things, the question is how do you use your time to invest in other passions,” she emphasized.
Additionally that journalists needed to wake up and use the opportunities around so as to turn around their situation.
A report by the United Nations in 2022, for example, highlights that the world was losing over $1 Trillion of its GDP owing to the downward exclusivity of women in the digital space.
Christine Butegwa CEO of Jabali Consulting LTD also noted that while there was more democratization of content and interception of entrepreneurship, women were still lagging behind in taking leadership roles in digital, technologies, and innovation.
She noted however that having more women in the digital sector could not only create an increase in the GDP through the different technologies like social media, gaming, and animation which are multi-billion dollar industries but also bring on to the table more creative solutions, promote innovation that meets women’s needs and promotes gender equity
Despite having a low budget of less than 5% of the $ 12 billion funding to tech startups, the number of African women investors has increasingly doubled standing at about 3.2% compared to the global average of 1.6%.
Africa also ranks the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world, with Uganda at 34.8 % thus showing how companies run by women experience more innovation, inclusively, and stronger financial performance.
“The digital space is one of those areas worth taking on given Africa’s high youth population and the emerging markets from both Asia and Africa following a slump in the western countries,” Christine urged.
Adding however that if there are contradictory government policies just like the 2018 social media tax and ban on Facebook in Uganda that caused over a 30% loss of internet users or even hiring the same women in places of decision making then there would less diversity
The need to mentor and support each other as women in media, therefore, came in handy as the executive director of Uganda Media Women’s Association (UMWA) Scooped her lifetime achievement award but was accompanied by over 20 journalists and media stakeholders that have had a hard and loud voice to change the narrative for others.
The women in media awards will be happening annually recognizing the outstanding contributors in the media fraternity interns of leadership, mentorship, and among others innovation.
This year’s edition was celebrated under them HerStory: Self, Health, and wealth and was organized by UMWA.